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THE RIVER DUDDON: 



A SERIES OF SONNETS: 



VAUDRACOUR AND JULIA; 



AND OTHER POEMS, 



TO WHICH IS ANNEXED A TOPOGRAPHICAL DESCRIPTION 
OF THE COUNTRY OF THE LAKES IN THE NORTH OF ENGLAND. 



BY 

WILLIAM WORDSWORTH. 



LONDON : 
PRINTED FOR LONGMAN, HURST, REES, ORME, & BROWN, 

PATERNOSTER ROW. 

1820. 



Digitized by the Internet Archive 
in 2011 with funding from 
Brigham Young University 



http://www.archive.org/details/riverduddonserieOOword 



TO THE REV. 

CHRISTOPHER WORDSWORTH, D. D. 

&c. &c. 

THESE SONNETS, 

CALLED FORTH BY ONE OF THE MOST BEAUTIFUL STREAMS 
OF HIS NATIVE COUNTY, 

ARE RESPECTFULLY INSCRIBED, 



HIS AFFECTIONATE BROTHER, 



WILLIAM WORDSWORTH. 



A ^ 



ADVERTISEMENT. 

This Publication, together with " The Thanksgiving 
Ode," Jan. 18. 1816, " The Tale of Peter Bell," and 
** The Waggoner," completes the third and last volume 
of the Author's Miscellaneous Poems. 



CONTENTS. 



'/.-u 



Page 

The River Duddon, &c. - - - - - 1 

Vaudracour and Julia - - - - - 71 

On the Longest Day ------. 87 

Lament of Mary Queen of Scots - - - 92 

To on her First Ascent to the Summit of Helvellyn 96 

To Lycoris - - -"---99 

To the same -_-_-- - 102 

The Brownie's Cell 104 

Composed at Cora Lynn - - - - - 110 

To the Rev. Dr. W. with Sonnets to the River 

Duddon, &c. 113 

Repentance - - - - ---118 

Song for the Spinning-Wheel - - - - 121 

Hint from the Mountains - - - - - 123 

Dion " - - 125 

-Vt Mf^-' ^ ' The Pilgrim's Dream - . - . . 133 

£./'.^\ Artegal and Elidure - - - - - -138 

vri.^^- A Fact and an Imagination, or Canute and Alfred - 154 

\V^m4 To " Those silver clouds," &c. - - 157 

4'«m4>4 Sonnets - - 159 to 163 

^^^ Inscriptions, supposed to be found in and near a 

*ju, Hermit's Cell ----- . 154 

/ '^ \^ The Prioress's Tale (from Chaucer) - - ^ - 175 

September, 1819, - 187 

Upon the same Occasion - - - - - 189 



VIU CONTENTS. 

Page 
Ode, composed upon an Evening of extraordinary 

Splendor and Beauty - - - - 193 

" A little onward," &c. - .^- - - - 198 

Ode, The Pass of Kirkstone - - - - 201 

Ode, 1817, - - - 208 

Topographical Descriptiojj pf the Country of the 

Lakes 215 



THE 



''RIVER DUDDON. 



A SERIES OF 



SONNETS. 



B 



A 



The River Duddon rises upon Wrynose Tell, on the 
confines of Westmorland, Cumberland, and Lanca- 
shire ; ayid, serm7ig as a boundary to the tnsoo latter 
counties, for the space of about twenty-five miles, 
enters the Irish sea, between the isle of Walney 
and the lordship of Milium, 



I. 



Not envying shades which haply yet may throw 

A grateful coolness round that rocky spring, 

Bandusia, once responsive to the string 

Of the Horatian lyre with babbling flow ; 

Careless of flowers that in perennial blow 

Round the moist marge of Persian fountains cling ; 

Heedless of Alpine torrents thundering 

Through icy portals radiant as heaven's bow ; 

I seek the birth-place of a native Stream. — 

All hail ye mountains, hail thou morning light ! 

Better to breathe upon this aery height 

Than pass in needless sleep from dream to dream ; 

Pure flow the verse, pure, vigorous, free, and bright, 

For Duddon, long lov'd Duddon, is my theme ! 



B 2 



THE RIVER DUDDON. 



II, 



» 



Child of the clouds ! remote from every taint 
Of sordid industry thy lot is cast ; 
Thine are the honors of the lofty waste ; 
Not seldom, when with heat the valleys faint, 
Thy hand-maid Frost with spangled tissue quaint 
Thy cradle decks ; — to chaunt thy birth, thou hast 
' No meaner Poet than the whistling Blast, 
And Desolation is thy Patron-saint ! 
She guards thee, ruthless Power ! who would not spare 
Those mighty forests, once the bison's screen. 
Where stalk'd the huge deer to his shaggy lair * 
Through paths and alleys roofed with sombre green, 
Thousand of years before the silent air 
Was pierced by whizzing shaft of hunter keen I 

* The deer alluded to is the Leigh, a gigantic species long since extinct. 



THE RIVER DUDDON. 



III. 



How shall I paint thee ? — Be this naked stone 
My seat while I give way to such intent ; 
Pleased could my verse, a speaking monument, 
Make to the eyes of men thy features known. 
But as of all those tripping lambs not one 
Outruns his fellows, so hath nature lent 
To thy beginning nought that doth present 
Peculiar grounds for hope to build upon. 
To dignify the spot that gives thee birth, 
No sign of hoar Antiquity's esteem 
Appears, and none of modern Fortune's care ; 
Yet thou thyself hast round thee shed a gleam 
Of brilliant moss, instinct with freshness rare ; 
Prompt offering to thy Foster-mother, Earth ! 

B 3 



THE RIVER DUDDON. 



IV. 



Take, cradled Nursling of the mountain, take 

This parting glance, no negligent adieu ! 

A Protean change seems wrought while I pursue 

The curves, a loosely-scattered chain doth make ; 

Or rather thou appear'st a glistering snake, 

Silent, and to the gazer's eye untrue, 

Thridding with sinuous lapse the rushes, through 

Dwarf willows gliding, and by ferny brake. 

Starts from a dizzy steep the undaunted Rill 

Rob'd instantly in garb of snow-white foam ; 

And laughing dares the Adventurer, who hath clomb 

So high, a rival purpose to fulfil ; 

Else let the Dastard backward wend, and roam, 

Seeking less bold achievement, where he will ! 



THE RIVER DUDDON, 



V. 



Sole listener, Diiddon ! to the breeze that play'd 
With thy clear voice, I caught the fitful sound 
Wafted o'er sullen moss and craggy mound, 
Unfruitful solitudes, that seem'd to upbraid 
The sun in heaven ! — but now, to form a shade 
For Thee, green alders have together wound 
Their foliage ; ashes flung their arms around ; 
And birch-trees risen in silver colonnade. 
And thou hast also tempted here to rise, 
'Mid sheltering pines, this Cottage rude and giey; 
Whose ruddy children, by the mother's eyes 
Carelessly watch'd, sport through the summer day, 
Thy pleas'd associates : — light as endless May 
On infant bosoms lonely Nature lies. 



B 4 



•t' 



8 THE RIVER DUDDON. 

VI. 

* FLOWERS. 

Ere yet our course was graced with social trees 
It lacked not old remains of hawthorn bowers. 
Where small birds warbled to their paramours ; 
And, earlier still, was heard the hum of bees; 
I saw them ply their harmless robberies, 
And caught the fragrance which the sundry flowers. 
Fed by the stream with soft perpetual showers, 
Plenteously yielded to the vagrant breeze. 
There bloomed the strawberry of the wilderness ; 
The trembling eye-bright showed her sapphire blue. 
The thyme her purple like the blush of even ; 
And, if the breath of some to no caress 
Invited, forth they peeped so fair to view. 
All kinds alike seemed favourites of Heaven. 



% 



^ THE RIVER DUDDON. 



9- 



VII. 



" Change me, some God, into that breathing rose !" 

The love-sick Stripling fancifully sighs. 

The envied flower beholding, as it lies 

On Laura's breast, in exquisite repose ; 

Or he would pass into her Bird, that throws 

The darts of song from out its wiry cage ; 

Enraptured, — could he for himself engage 

The thousandth part of what the Nymph bestows, 

And what the little careless Innocent 

Ungraciously receives. Too daring choice I 

There are whose calmer mind it would content 

To be an uncuUed flow'ret of the glen. 

Fearless of plough and scythe ; or darkling wren, 

That tunes on Duddon's banks her slender voice. 



10 THE KIVEK DUDDON. 



VIII. 

What aspect bore the Man who roved or fled, 
First of his tribe, to this dark dell — who first 
In this pellucid Current slaked his thirst ? 
What hopes came with him ? what designs were spread 
Along his path ? His unprotected bed 
What dreams encompassed ? Was the Intruder nurs'd 
^ In hideous usages, and rites accurs'd, 

That thinned the living and disturbed the dead ? 

No voice replies ; — the earth, the air is mute ; 

And Thou, blue Streamlet, murmuring yield'st no more 

Than a soft record that whatever fruit 

Of ignorance thou might'st witness heretofore, 

Thy function was to heal and to restore. 

To soothe and cleanse, not madden and pollute ! 



THE RIVER DUDDON. Ill 



IX. 



THE STEPPING-STONES. 



The struggling Rill insensibly is grown 

Into a Brook of loud and stately march, 

Cross'd ever and anon by plank and arch ; 

And, for like use, lo ! what might seem a zone 

Chosen for ornament ; stone match'd with stone 

In studied symmetry, with interspace 

For the clear waters to pursue their race 

Without restraint. — How swiftly have they flown I 

Succeeding — still succeeding ! Here the Child 

Puts, when the high-swoln Flood runs fierce and wild, 

His budding courage to the proof; — and here 

Declining Manhood learns to note the sly 

And sure encroachments of infirmity. 

Thinking how fast time runs, life's end how near ! 



12 THE RIVER DUDDON. 



X. 



THE SAME SUBJECT. 

Not so that Pair whose youthful spirits dance 
With prompt emotion, urging them to pass ; 
A sweet confusion checks the Shepherd-lass ; 
Blushing she eyes the dizzy flood askance, — 
To stop ashamed — too timid to advance; 
She ventures once again — another pause ! 
His outstretched hand He tauntingly withdraws — 
She sues for help with piteous utterance ! 
Chidden she chides again ; the thrilling touch 
Both feel when he renews the wish'd-for aid : 
Ah ! if their fluttering hearts should stir too much, 
Should beat too strongly, both may be betrayed. 
The frolic Loves who, from yon high rock, see 
The struggle, clap their wings for victory 1 



THE RIVER DUDDON. 13 



XL 



THE FAERY CHASM. 

No fiction was it of the antique age : 

A sky-blue stone, within this sunless cleft, 

Is of the very foot-marks unbereft 

Which tiny Elves impressed ; — on that smooth stage 

Dancing with all their brilliant equipage 

In secret revels — haply after theft 

Of some sweet babe, flower stolen, and coarse weed left, 

For the distracted mother to assuage 

Her grief with, as she might ! — But, where, oh where 

Is traceable a vestige of the notes 

That ruled those dances, wild in character ? 

— Deep underground? — Or in the upper air, 

On the shrill wind of midnight ? or where floats 

O'er twilight fields the autumnal gossamer ? 



U THE RIVER DUDDON. 



XII. 



HINTS FOR THE FANCY. 



On, loitering Muse ! — The swift Stream chides us — on 

Albeit his deep-worn channel doth immure 

Objects immense, pourtray'd in miniature, 

Wild shapes for many a strange comparison ! 

Niagaras, Alpine passes, and anon 

Abodes of Naiads, calm abysses pure, 

Bright liquid mansions, fashion'd to endure 

When the broad Oak drops, a leafless skeleton. 

And the solidities of mortal pride. 

Palace and Tower, are crumbled into dust ! 

— The Bard who walks with Duddon for his guide, 

Shall find such toys of Fancy thickly set : — 

Turn from the sight, enamoured Muse — we must ; 

Leave them — and, if thou canst, without regret ! 



THE RIVER DUDDON. 15 



XIII. 



OPEN PROSPECT. 



Hail to the fields — with Dwellings sprinkled o'er. 

And one small Hamlet, under a green hill, 

Clustered with barn and byer, and spouting mill ! 

A glance suffices, — should we wish for more. 

Gay June would scorn us ; — but when bleak winds roar 

Through the stiff lance-like shoots of pollard ash, 

Dread swell of sound ! loud as the gusts that lash 

The matted forests of Ontario's shore 

By wasteful steel unsmitten, then would I 

Turn into port, — and, reckless of the gale, 

Reckless of angry Duddon sweeping by, 

While the warm hearth exalts the mantling ale, 

Laugh with the generous household heartily, 

At all the merry pranks of Donnerdale ! 



16 THE RIVER DUDDON. 



i| 



XIV. 



O Mountain Stream ! the Shepherd and his Cot 
Are privileged Inmates of deep solitude ; 
Nor would the nicest Anchorite exclude 
A field or two of brighter green, or plot 
Of tillage-ground, that seemeth like a spot 
Of stationary sunshine : — thou hast viewed 
These only, Duddon ! with their paths renewed 
By fits and starts, yet this contents thee not. 
Thee hath some awful Spirit impelled to leave, 
Utterly to desert, the haunts of men, 
Though simple thy companions were and few ; 
And through this wilderness a passage cleave 
Attended but by thy own voice, save when 
The Clouds and Fowls of the air thy way pursue ! 



THE RIVER DUDDON. 17 



XV. 



From this deep chasm — where quivering sun-beams play 

Upon its loftiest crags — mine eyes behold 

A gloomy Niche, capacious, blank, and cold ; 

A concave free from shrubs and mosses grey ; 

In semblance fresh, as if, with dire affray. 

Some Statue, placed amid these regions old 

For tutelary service, thence had rolled. 

Startling the flight of timid Yesterday ! 

Was it by mortals sculptured ? — weary slaves 

Of slow endeavour ! or abruptly cast 

Into rude shape by fire, with roaring blast 

Tempestuously let loose from central caves ? 

Or fashioned by the turbulence of waves. 

Then, when o'er highest hills the Deluge past ? 



€ 



18 THE RIVER DUDDON. 

XVI. 

AMERICAN TRADITION. 

Such fruitless questions may not long beguile 
Or plague the fancy, mid the sculptured shows 
Conspicuous yet where Oroonoko flows ; 
There would the Indian answer with a smile 
Aim^d at the White Man's ignorance, the while 
Of the Great Waters telling, how they rose, 
Covered the plains, and wandering where they chose^ 
Mounted through every intricate defile. 
Triumphant, — Inundation wide and deep. 
O'er which his Fathers urged, to ridge and steep 
Else unapproachable, their buoyant way ; 
And carved, on mural cliff's undreaded side, 
Sun, moon, and stars, and beast of chase or prey ; 
Whatever they sought, shunn'd, loved, or deified ! * 

* See Humboldt's Personal Narrative. 



THE RIVER DUDDON. 19 



XVII. 



RETURN. 



A DARK plume fetch me from yon blasted Yew 
Perched on whose top the Danish Raven croaks; 
Aloft, the imperial Bird of Rome invokes 
Departed ages, shedding where he flew 
Loose fragments of wild wailing that bestrew 
The clouds, and thrill the chambers of the rocks, 
And into silence hush the timorous flocks, 
That slept so calmly while the nightly dew 
Moisten'd each fleece, beneath the twinkling stars : 
These couch'd mid that lone Camp on Hardknot's height. 
Whose Guardians bent the knee to Jove and Mars : 
These near that mystic Round of Druid frame, 
Tardily sinking by its proper weight 
Deep into patient Earth, from whose smooth breast it came ! 



c 2 



20 THE RIVER DUDDON. 



XVIII. 



SEATHWAITE CHAPEL. 



Sacred Religion, " mother of form and fear/' 
Dread Arbitress of mutable respect, 
New rites ordaining when the old are wrecked. 
Or cease to please the fickle worshipper ; 
If one strong wish may be embosomed here. 
Mother of Love ! for this deep vale, protect 
Truth's holy lamp, pure source of bright effect. 
Gifted to purge the vapoury atmosphere 
That seeks to stifle it ; — as in those days 
W^hen this low Pile a Gospel Teacher knew. 
Whose good works formed an endless retinue : 
Such Priest as Chaucer sang in fervent lays ; 
Such as the heaven-taught skill of Herbert drew; 
And tender Goldsmith crown'd with deathless praise ! 



^' 



THE RIVER DUDDON. 21 

XIX. 

TRIBUTARY STREAM. 

My frame hath often trembled with delight 

When hope presented some far-distant good. 

That seemed from heaven descending, like the flood 

Of yon pure waters, from their aery height. 

Hurrying with lordly Duddon to unite ; 

Who, mid a world of images imprest 

On the calm depth of his transparent breast, 

Appears to cherish most that Torrent white, 

The fairest, softest, liveliest of them all ! 

And seldom hath ear listened to a tune 

More lulling than the busy hum of Noon, 

Swoln by that voice — whose murmur musical 

Announces to the thirsty fields a boon 

Dewy and fresh, till showers again shall fall. 



C 3 



22 THE RIVER DUDDOK 

XX. 

THE PLAIN OF DONNERDALE. 

The old inventive Poets, had they seen, 

Or rather felt, the entrancement that detains 

Thy waters, Duddon I mid these flow'ry plains, 

The still repose, the liquid lapse serene, 

Transferr'd to bowers imperishably green. 

Had beautified Elysium ! But these chains 

Will soon be broken ; — a rough course remains, 

Rough as the past ; where Thou, of placid mien, 

Innocuous as a firstling of a flock. 

And countenanced like a soft cerulean sky, 

Shalt change thy temper ; and, with many a shock 

Given and received in mutual jeopardy, 

Dance like a Bacchanal from rock to rock, 

Tossing her frantic thyrsus wide and high ! 



THE RIVER DUDDON. 23 



XXI. 

Whence that low voice ? — A whisper from the heart. 

That told of days long past when here I roved 

With friends and kindred tenderly beloved ; 

Some who had early mandates to depart, 

Yet are allowed to steal my path athwart 

By Duddon's side ; once more do we unite, 

Once more beneath the kind Earth's tranquil light ; 

And smothered joys into new being start. 

From her unworthy seat, the cloudy stall 

Of Time, breaks forth triumphant Memory ; 

Her glistening tresses bound, yet light and free 

As golden locks of birch, that rise and fall 

On gales that breathe too gently to recal 

Aught of the fading year's inclemency ! 



c 4? 



t 

24? * THE RIVER DUDDON. 

9 

I 

XXII. 

TRADITION. 

A LOVE-LORN Maid, at some far-distant time, 

Came to this hidden pool, whose depths surpass 

In crystal clearness Dian's looking-glass ; 

And, gazing, saw that rose, which from the prime 

Derives its name, reflected as the chime 

Of echo doth reverberate some sweet sound : 

The starry treasure from the blue profound 

She long'd to ravish ; — shall she plunge, or climb 

The humid precipice, and seize the guest 

Of April, smiling high in upper air? 

Desperate alternative ! what fiend could dare 

To prompt the thought ? — Upon the steep rock's breast 

The lonely Primrose yet renews its bloom, 

Untouched memento of her hapless doom ! 



THE RIVER DUDDON. 25 



XXIII. 

SHEEP WASHING. 

Sad thoughts, avaunt ! — the fervour of the year. 

Poured on the fleece- encumbered flock, invites 

To laving currents, for prelusive rites 

Duly performed before the Dales-men shear 

Their panting charge. The distant Mountains hear. 

Hear and repeat, the turmoil that unites 

Clamour of boys with innocent despites 

Of barking dogs, and bleatings from strange fear. 

Meanwhile, if Duddon's spotless breast receive 

Unwelcome mixtures as the uncouth noise 

Thickens, the pastoral River will forgive 

Such wrong ; nor need we blame the licensed joys 

Though false to Nature's quiet equipoise : 

Frank are the sports, the stains are fugitive. 



26 THE RIVER DUDDON. 

XXIV. 

THE RESTING-PLACE. 

Mid-noon is past ; — upon the sultry mead 

No zephyr breathes, no cloud its shadow throws: 

If we advance unstrengthen'd by repose, 

Farewell the solace of the vagrant reed. 

This Nook, with woodbine hung and straggling weed. 

Tempting recess as ever pilgrim chose, 

Half grot, half arbour, proffers to enclose 

Body and mind, from molestation freed. 

In narrow compass — narrow as itself: 

Or if the Fancy, too industrious Elf, 

Be loth that we should breathe awhile exempt 

From new incitements friendly to our task. 

There wants not stealthy prospect, that may tempt 

Loose Idless to forego her wily mask. 



THE RIVER DUDDON. / 27 



XXV. 

Methinks 'twere no unprecedented feat 

Should some benignant Minister of air 

Lift, and encircle with a cloudy chair, 

The One for whom my heart shall ever beat 

V^ith tenderest love ; — or, if a safer seat 

Atween his downy wings be furnished, there 

Would lodge her, and the cherish'd burden bear 

O'er hill and valley to this dim retreat ! 

Rough ways my steps have trod ; too rough and long 

For her companionship ; here dwells soft ease : 

With sweets which she partakes not some distaste 

Mingles, and lurking consciousness of wrong ; 

Languish the flowers ; the waters seem to waste 

Their vocal charm ; their sparklings cease to please. 



m THE RIVER DUDDON. 



XXVI. 

Return, Content ! for fondly I pursued, 
Even when a child, the Streams — unheard, unseen ; 
Through tangled woods, impending rocks between ; 
Or, free as air, with flying inquest viewed 
The sullen reservoirs whence their bold brood. 
Pure as the morning, fretful, boisterous, keen. 
Green as the salt-sea billows, white and green. 
Poured down the hills, a choral multitude I 
Nor have I tracked their course for scanty gains ; 
They taught me random cares and truant joys, 
That shield from mischief and preserve from stains 
Vague minds, while men are growing out of boys; 
Maturer Fancy owes to their rough noise 
Impetuous thoughts that brook not servile reins. 



i 



THE RIVER DUDDON. 29 



XXVII. 



JOURNEY RENEWED. 



1 ROSE while yet the cattle, heat-opprest, 
Crowded together under rustling trees, 
Brushed by the current of the water-breeze ; 
And for their sakes, and love of all that rest, 
On Duddon's margin, in the sheltering nest ; 
For all the startled scaly tribes that slink 
Into his coverts, and each fearless link 
Of dancing insects forged upon his breast; 
For these, and hopes and recollections worn 
Close to the vital seat of human clay ; 
Glad meetings — tender partings — that upstay 
The drooping mind of absence, by vows sworn 
In his pure presence near the trysting thorn ; 
I thanked the Leader of my onward way. 



30 THE RIVER DUDDON. 



XXVIII. 

No record tells of lance opposed to lance, 
Horse charging horse mid these retired domains ; 
Nor that their turf drank purple from the veinj» 
Of heroes falPn, or struggling to advance, 
Till doubtful combat issued in a trance 
Of victory, that struck through heart and reins. 
Even to the inmost seat of mortal pains, 
And lightened o'er the pallid countenance. 
Yet, to the loyal and the brave, who lie 
In the blank earth, neglected and forlorn, 
The passing V^inds memorial tribute pay ; 
The Torrents chaunt their praise, inspiring scorn 
Of power usurped, — with proclamation high. 
And glad acknowledgment of lawful sway. 



THE RIVER DUDDON. M 



XXIX. 

Who swerves from innocence, who makes divorce 

Of that serene companion — a good liame, 

Recovers not his loss ; but walks with shame, 

With doubt, with fear, and haply with remorse. 

And oft-times he, who, yielding to the force 

Of chance-temptation, ere his journey end, 

From chosen comrade turns, or faithful friend, 

In vain shall rue the broken intercourse. 

Not so with such as loosely wear the chain 

That binds them, pleasant River ! to thy side : — 

Through the rough copse wheel Thou with hasty stride, 

I choose to saunter o'er the grassy plain. 

Sure, when the separation has been tried. 

That we, who part in love, shall meet again. 



32 THE RIVER DUDDON. 



The Kirk of Ulpha to the Pilgrim's eye 

Is welcome as a Star^ that doth present 

Its shining forehead through the peaceful rent 

Of a black cloud diffused o'er half the sky ; 

Or as a fruitful palm-tree towering high 

O'er the parched waste beside an Arab's tent ; 

Or the Indian tree whose branches, downward bent, 

Take root again, a boundless canopy. 

How sweet were leisure ! could it yield no more 

Than mid that wave-washed Church-yard to recline, 

From pastoral graves extracting thoughts divine ; 

Or there to pace, and mark the summits hoar 

Of distant moon-lit mountains faintly shine, 

Sooth'd by the unseen River's gentle roar. 



THE RIVER DUDDON, 33 



XXXI. 

Not hurled precipitous from steep to steep ; 
Lingering no more mid flower-enamelled lands 
And blooming thickets ; nor by rocky bands 
Held; — but in radiant progress toward the Deep 
Where mightiest rivers into powerless sleep 
Sink, and forget their nature ; — 7iow expands 
Majestic Duddon, over smooth flat sands, 
Gliding in silence with unfettered sweep ! 
Beneath an ampler sky a region wide 
Is opened round him ; — hamlets, towers, and towns, 
And blue-topp'd hills, behold him from afar ; 
In stately mien to sovereign Thames allied. 
Spreading his bosom under Kentish downs. 
With Commerce freighted or triumphant War. 



\ 



84 THE RIVER DUDDON. 



XXXII. 

But here no cannon thunders to the gale ; 
Upon the wave no haughty pendants cast 
A crimson splendour ; lowly is the mast 
That rises here, and humbly spread the sail ; 
While less disturbed than in the narrow Vale 
Through which with strange vicissitudes he pass'd, 
The Wanderer seeks that receptacle vast 
Where all his unambitious functions fail. 
And may thy Poet, cloud-born Stream ! be free. 
The sweets of earth contentedly resigned. 
And each tumultuous working left behind 
At seemly distance, to advance like Thee, 
Prepared, in peace of heart, in calm of mind 
And soul, to mingle with Eternity! 



THE RIVER DUDDON, 35 



XXXIIL 



CONCLUSION. 



I THOUGHT of Thee, my partner and my guide, 

As being past away. — Vain sympathies ! 

For, backward, Duddon ! as I cast my eyes, 

I see what was, and is, and will abide ; 

Still glides the Stream, and shall for ever glide ; 

The Form remains, the Function never dies ; 

While we, the brave, the mighty, and the wise, 

We Men, who in our morn of youth defied 

The elements, must vanish ; — be it so ! 

Enough, if something from our hands have power 

To live, and act, and serve the future hour ; 

And if, as tow'rd the silent tomb we go, 

Thro' love, thro' hope, and faith's transcendant dower, 

We feel that we are greater than we know. 



D 2 



POSTSCRIPT. 



A Poet, whose works are not yet known as they deserve 
to be, thus enters upon his description of the " Ruins of 
Rome," 

" The rising Sun 

Flames on the ruins in the purer air 

Towering aloft ;" 

and ends thus, 

"The setting Sun displays 

His visible great round, between yon towers. 

As through two shady cliffs." 

Mr. Crowe, in his excellent loco-descriptive Poem, 
" Lewesdon Hill," is still more expeditious, finishing the 
whole on a May-morning, before breakfast. 

" To-morrow for severer thought, but now 
To breakfast, and keep festival to-day." 

No one believes, or is desired to believe, that these Poems 
were actually composed within such limits of time, nor was 



D 3 



38 POSTSCRIPT. 

there any reason why a prose statement should acquaint the 
Reader with the plain fact, to the disturbance of poetic cre- 
dibihty. But, in the present case, I am compelled to men- 
tion, that the above series of Sonnets was the growth of 
many years; — the one which stands the 14th was the first 
produced ; and others were added upon occasional visits to 
the Stream, or as recollections of the scenes upon its banks 
awakened a wish to describe them. In this manner I had 
proceeded insensibly, without perceiving that I was tres- 
passing upon ground pre-occupied, at least as far as inten- 
tion went, by Mr. Coleridge ; who, more than twenty years 
ago, used to speak of writing a rural Poem, to be entitled 
" The Brook," of which he has given a sketch in a recent 
publication. But a particular subject cannot, I think, much 
interfere with a general one ; and I have been further kept 
from encroaching upon any right Mr. C. may still wish to 
exercise, by the restriction which the frame of the Sonnet 
imposed upon me, narrowing unavoidably the range of 
thought, and precluding, though not without its advantages, 
many graces to which a freer movement of verse would na- 
turally have led. 

May I not venture, then, to hope, that instead of being a 
hinderance, by anticipation of any part of the subject, 
these Sonnets may remind Mr. Coleridge of his own more 
comprehensive design, and induce him to fulfil it ? . 
There is a sympathy in streams, " one calleth to another ;" 
and, I would gladly believe, that " Tlie Brook" will, ere 



POSTSCRIPT. 39 

long, murmur in concert with " The Duddon." But, asking 
pardon for this fancy, I need not scruple to say, that those 
verses must indeed be ill-fated which can enter upon such 
pleasant walks of nature, without receiving and giving in- 
spiration. The power of waters over the minds of Poets has 
been acknowledged from the earliest ages ; — through the 
*' Flumina amem sylvas que inglorius" of Virgil, down to 
the sublime apostrophe to the great rivers of the earth, by 
Armstrong, and the simple ejaculation of Burns, (chosen, 
if I recollect right, by Mr. Coleridge, as a motto for his 
embryo " Brook") 

" The Muse nae Poet ever fand her. 
Till by himsel' he learned to wander, 
Adown some trotting burn's meander,, 
And na* think lang." 



D 4 



NOTES. 



Sonnet VI. 

" There bloomed the strawberry of the wilderness, 
The trembling eye-bright showed her sapphire blue/' 

These two lines are in a great measure taken from " The 
Beauties of Spring, a Juvenile Poem," by the Rev. Joseph 
Sympson, author of " The Vision of Alfred," &c. He was 
a native of Cumberland, and was educated in the vale of 
Grasmere, and at Hawkshead school : his poems are little 
known, but they contain passages of splendid description; 
and the versification of his " Vision of Alfred" is harmo- 
nious and animated. The present severe season, with its 
amusements, reminds me of some lines which I will trans- 
cribe as a favourable specimen. In describing the motions 
of the Sylphs, that constitute the strange machinery of his 
" Vision of Alfred," he uses the following illustrative simile: — 

" glancing from their plumes 
A changeful light the azure vault illumes. 



42 NOTES. 

Less varying hues beneath the Pole adorn 
The streamy glories of the Boreal morn, 
That wavering to and fro their radiance shed 
On Bothnia's gulph with glassy ice o'erspread, 
Where the lone native, as he homeward glides, 
On polish'd sandals o'er the imprisoned tides, 
And still the balance of his frame preserves, 
^Vheel'd on alternate foot in lengthening curves, 
Sees at a glance, above him and below, v 

Two rival heav'ns with equal splendour glow. 
Sphered in the centre of the world he seems. 
For all around with soft effulgence gleams ; 
Stars, moons, and meteors ray oppose to ray. 
And solemn midnight pours the blaze of day." 

He was a man of ardent feeling, and his faculties of 
mind, particularly his memory, were extraordinary. Brief 
notices of his life ought to find a place in the History of 
Westmorland. 

Sonnet XVII. 

The Eagle requires a large domain for its support ; but 
several pairs, not many years ago, were constantly resident 
in this country, building their nests in the steeps of Borrow- 
dale, Wastdale, Ennerdale, and on the eastern side of 
Helvellyn. Often have I heard anglers speak of the grandeur 
of their appearance, as they hovered over Red Tarn, in one 



NOTES. 4S 

of the coves of this mountain. The bird frequently returns, 
but is always destroyed. Not long since one visited Rydal 
Lake, and remained some hours near its banks ; the con- 
sternation which it occasioned among the different species of 
fowl, particularly the herons, was expressed by loud screams. 

The horse also is naturally afraid of the eagle There were 

several Roman stations among these mountains ; the most 
considerable seems to have been in a meadow at the head of 
Windermere, established, undoubtedly, as a check over the 
passes of Kirkstone, Dunmail-raise, and of Hardknot and 
Wrynose. On the margin of Rydal Lake, a coin of Trajan 
was discovered very lately. — The Roman Fort here alluded 
to, called by the country people ^^ Hardknot Castle^'' is most 
impressively situated half way down the hill on the right 
of the road that descends from Hardknot into Eskdale. It 
has escaped the notice of most antiquarians, and is but 
slightly mentioned by Lysons. — The Druidical Circle is 
about half a mile to the left of the road ascending Stone- 
side from the vale of Duddon : the country people call it 
** Sunken Church" 

The reader who may have been interested in the fore- 
going Sonnets, (which together may be considered as a 
Poem,) will not be displeased to find in this place a prose- 
account of the Duddon, extracted from Green's compre- 
hensive Guide to the Lakes, lately published. " The road 
leading from Coniston to Broughton is over high ground, and 
commands a view of the river Duddon ; which at high water 



44 NOTES. 

is a grand sight, having the beautiful and fertile lands of 
Lancashire and Cumberland stretching each way from its 
margin. In this extensive view, the face of nature is dis- 
played in a wonderful variety of hill and dale ; wooded 
grounds and buildings ; amongst the latter, Broughton Tower, 
seated on the crown of a hill, rising elegantly from the 
valley, is an object of extraordinary interest. Fertility on 
each side is gradually diminished, and lost in the superior 
heights of Blackcomb, in Cumberland, and the high lands 
between Kirkby and Ulverstone." 

" The road from Broughton to Seathwaite is on the banks 
of the Duddon, and on its Lancashire side it is of various 
elevations. The river is an amusing companion, one while 
brawling and tumbling over rocky precipices, until the agi- 
tated water becomes again calm by arriving at a smoother 
and less precipitous bed, but its course is soon again ruffled, 
and the current thrown into every variety of form which the 
rocky channel of a river can give to water." (Vide Green's 
Guide to the Lakes, vol. i. pp. 98 — 100.) 

After all, the traveller would be most gratified who should 
approach this beautiful Stream, neither at its source, as is 
done in the Sonnets, nor from its termination; but from 
Coniston over Walna Scar; first descending into a Httle 
circular valley, a collateral compartment of the long winding 
vale through which flows the Duddon. This recess, towards 
the close of September, when the after-grass of the meadows 
is still of a fresh green, with the leaves of many of the trees 



NOTES. 45 

faded, but perhaps none fallen, is truly enchanting. At a 
point elevated enough to shew the various objects in the 
valley, and not so high as to diminish their importance, the 
stranger will instinctively halt. On the fore-ground, a little 
below the most favourable station, a rude foot-bridge is 
thrown over the bed of the noisy brook, foaming by the 
way-side. Russet and craggy hills, of bold and varied 
outline, surround the level valley which is besprinkled with 
grey rocks plumed with birch trees. A few home-steads are 
interspersed in some places, peeping out from among the 
rocks like hermitages, whose scite has been chosen for the 
benefit of sun-shine as well as shelter ; in other instances, 
the dwelling-house, barn, and byer, compose together a 
cruciform structure, which, with its embowering trees and 
the ivy clothing part of the walls and roof, like a fleece, 
call to mind the remains of an ancient abbey. Time, in most 
cases, and nature every where, have given a sanctity to the 
humble works of man, that are scattered over this peaceful 
retirement. Hence a harmony of tone and colour, a per- 
fection and consummation of beauty, which would have 
been marred had aim or purpose interfered with the course 
of convenience, utility, or necessity. This unvitiated region 
stands in no need of the veil of twiHght to soften or disguise 
its features. As it glistens in the morning sunshine, it would 
fill the spectator's heart with gladsomeness. Looking from 
our chosen station, he would feel an impatience to rove 
among its pathways, to be greeted by the milk-maid, to 



46 NOTES. 

wander from house to house, exchanging " good-morrows'* 
as he passed the open doors ; but, at evening, when the sun 
is set, and a pearly light gleams from the western quarter of 
the sky, with an answering light from the smooth surface 
of the meadows ; when the trees are dusky, but each kind 
still distinguishable ; when the cool air has condensed the 
blue smoke rising from the cottage-chimneys ; when the dark 
mossy stones seem to sleep in the bed of the foaming Brook ; 
then, he would be unwiHing to move forward, not less from 
a reluctance to relinquish what he beholds, than from an 
apprehension of disturbing, by his approach, the quietness 
beneath him. Issuing from the plain of this valley, the 
Brook descends in a rapid torrent, passing by the church- 
yard of Seathwaite. The traveller is thus conducted at once 
into the midst of the wild and beautiful scenery which gave 
occasion to the Sonnets from the 14th to the 20th inclusive. 
From the point where the Seathwaite Brook joins the 
Duddon, is a view upwards, into the pass through which the 
River makes its way into the Plain of Donnerdale. The per- 
pendicular rock on the right bears the ancient British name 
of The Pen; the one opposite is called Walla-barrow 
Crag, a name that occurs in several places to designate 
rocks of the same character. The chaotic aspect of the 
scene is well marked by the expression of a stranger, who 
strolled out while dinner was preparing, and, at his return, 
being asked by his host, *' What way he had been wander- 
ing?" replied, " As far as it is finished T 



NOTES. 47 

The bed of the Duddon is here strewn with large frag- 
ments of rock fallen from aloft ; which, as Mr. Green truly 
says, " are happily adapted to the many-shaped water-falls," 
(or rather water-breaks, for none of them are high,) " dis- 
played in the short space of half a mile." That there is 
some hazard in frequenting these desolate places, I myself 
have had proof; for one night an immense mass of rock fell 
upon the very spot where, with a friend, I had lingered the 
day before. " The concussion," says Mr. Green, speaking 
of the event, (for he also, in the practice of his art, on that 
day sat exposed for a still longer time to the same peril) 
" was heard, not without alarm, by the neighbouring shep- 
herds." But to return to Seathwaite Church-yard : it con- 
tains the following inscription. 

" In memory of the Reverend Robert Walker, who died 
the 25th of June, 1802, in the 93d year of his age, and 67th 
of his curacy at Seathwaite. 

" Also, of Anne his wife, who died the 28th of January, 
in the 93d year of her age." 

In the parish-register of Seathwaite Chapel, is this notice : 

" Buried, June 28th, the Rev. Robert Walker. He was 
curate of Seathwaite sixty-six years. He was a man singu- 
lar for his temperance, industry, and integrity." 

This individual is the Pastor alluded to, in the eighteenth 
Sonnet, as a worthy compeer of the Country Parson of 
Chaucer, &c. An abstract of his character is given in the 



48 NOTES. 



author's poem of The Excursion * ; and some account of 
his life, for it is worthy of being recorded, will not be out 
of place here. 



MEMOIR OF THE REV. ROBERT WALKER. 

In the year 1709, Robert Walker was born at Under- 
Crag, in Seathwaite ; he was the youngest of twelve children. 
His eldest brother, who inherited the small family-estate, 
died at Under-crag, aged ninety-four, being twenty -four years 
older than the subject of this Memoir, who was born of the 
same mother. Robert was a sickly infant ; and, through 
his boyhood and youth continuing to be of delicate frame 
and tender health, it was deemed best, according to the 
country phrase, to breed him a scholar; for it was not likely 
that he would be able to earn a livelihood by bodily labour. 
At that period few of these Dales were furnished with school- 
houses ; the children being taught to read and write in the 
chapel ; and in the same consecrated building, where he 
officiated for so many years both as preacher and school- 
master, he himself received the rudiments of his education. 
In his youth he became schoolmaster at Lowes-water ; not 
being called upon, probably, in that situation, to teach more 
than reading, writing, and arithmetic. But, by the assist- 

* Page 326. 



NOTES. 49 

ance of a " Gentleman" in the neighbourhood, he acquired, 
at leisure hours, a knowledge of the classics, and became 
qualified for taking holy orders. Upon his ordination, he 
had the offer of two curacies ; the one, Torver, in the vale of 
Coniston, — the other, Seathwaite, in his native vale. The 
value of each was the same, viz. five pounds per annum : but 
the cure of Seathwaite having a cottage attached to it, as he 
wished to marry, he chose it in preference. The young person 
on whom his affections were fixed, though in the condition of 
a domestic servant, had given promise, by her serious and 
modest deportment, and by her virtuous dispositions, that 
she was worthy to become the help-mate of a man entering 
upon a plan of life such as he had marked out for himself. By 
her frugality she had stored up a small sum of money, with 
which they began housekeeping. In 1735 or 1736, he entered 
upon his curacy ; and, nineteen years afterwards, his situation 
is thus described, in some letters to be found in the Annual 
Register for 1760, from which the following is extracted : 

To Mr. — . 



** Sir, Coniston, July 26. 1754. 

" I was the other day upon a party of pleasure, about five 
or six miles from this place, where I met with a very striking 
object, and of a nature not very common. Going into a 
clergyman's house (of whom I had frequently heard) I found 
him sitting at the head of a long square table, such as is 
commonly used in this country by the lower class of people, 

E 



50 NOTES. 

dressed in a coarse blue frock, trimmed with black horn 
buttons; a checked shirt, a leathern strap about his neck 
for a stock, a coarse apron, and a pair of great wooden- 
soled shoes, plated with iron to preserve them, (what we 
call clogs in these parts,) with a child upon his knee eating 
his breakfast ; his wife, and the remainder of his children, 
were some of them employed in waiting on each other, the 
rest in teazing and spinning wool, at which trade he is a 
great proficient ; and moreover, when it is made ready for 
sale, will lay it by sixteen, or thirty -two pounds weight, upon 
his back, and on foot, seven or eight miles will carry it to 
the market, even in the depth of winter. I was not much 
surprised at all this, as you may possibly be, having heard a 
great deal of it related before. But I must confess myself" 
astonished with the alacrity and the good humour that ap- 
peared both in the clergyman and his wife, and more so, at 
the sense and ingenuity of the clergyman himself." * * 

Then follows a letter, from another person, dated 1755, 
from which an extract shall be given. 

" By his frugality and good management, he keeps the 
wolf from the door, as we say ; and if he advances a little in 
the world, it is owing more to his own care, than to any 
thing else he has to rely upon. I don't find his inclination is 
running after further preferment. He is settled among the 
people, that are happy among themselves ; and lives in the 
greatest unanimity and friendship with them ; and, I believe, 



NOTES. 51 

the minister and people are exceedingly satisfied with each 
other; and indeed how should they be dissatisfied, when 
they have a person of so much worth and probity for their 
pastor? A man, who, for his candour and meekness, his 
sober, chaste, and virtuous conversation, his soundness in 
principle and practice, is an ornament to his profession, and 
an honour to the country he Is in ; and bear with me if I say, 
the plainness of his dress, the sanctity of his manners, the 
simplicity of his doctrine, and the vehemence of his expres- 
sion, have a sort of resemblance to the pure practice of pri- 
mitive Christianity." 

We will now give his own account of himself, to be found 
in the same place. 

From the Rev. Robert Walker. 
" Sir, 
" Yours of the 26th instant was communicated to me by 
Mr. C — , and I should have returned an immediate answer, 
but the hand of Providence then lying heavy upon an amiable 
pledge of conjugal endearment, hath since taken from me a 
promising girl, which the disconsolate mother too pensively 
laments the loss of; though we have yet eight living, all 
healthful, hopeful children, whose names and ages are as 
follows : Zaccheus, aged almost eighteen years ; Elizabeth, 
sixteen years and ten months ; Mary, fifteen ; Moses, thir- 
teen years and three months; Sarah, ten years and three 
months; Mabel, eight years and three months; William 

E 2 



.V 



52 NOTES. 

Tyson, three years and eight months ; and Anne Esther, one 
year and three months : besides Anne who died two years 
and six months ago, and was then aged between nine and 
ten; and Eleanor, who died the 23d inst., January, aged 
six years and ten months. Zaccheus, the eldest child, is now 
learning the trade of tanner, and has two years and a half of 
his apprenticeship to serve. The annual income of my chapel 
at present, as near as I can compute it, may amount to about 
171' lOs. of which is paid in cash, viz. 5L from the bounty 
of Queen Anne, and 51. from W. P. Esq. of P — , out of the 
annual rents, he being lord of the manor, and Si. from the 
several inhabitants of L — , settled upon the tenements as a 
rent-charge ; the house and gardens I value at 4/. yearly, and 
not worth more ; and, I believe the surplice fees and volun- 
tary contributions, one year with another, may be worth Si. ; 
but, as the inhabitants are few in number, and the fees very 
low, this last-mentioned sum consists merely in free-will 
offerings. 

" I am situated greatly to my satisfaction with regard to the 
conduct and behaviour of my auditory, who not only live in 
the happy ignorance of the follies and vices of the age, but 
in mutual peace and good-will with one another, and are 
seemingly (I hope really too) sincere Christians, and sound 
members of the established church, not one dissenter of any 
denomination being amongst them all. I got to the value of 
40/. for my wife's fortune, but had no real estate of my own, 
being the youngest son of twelve children, born of obscure 



NOTES. 5$ 

parents ; and though my income has been but small, and my 
family large, yet, by a providential blessing upon my own 
diligent endeavours, the kindness of friends, and a cheap 
country to live in, we have always had the necessaries of life. 
By what I have written (which is a true and exact account to 
the best of my knowledge) I hope you will not think your 
favour to me, out of the late worthy Dr. Stratford's effects, 
quite mis-bestowed, for which I must ever gratefully own 
myself. Sir, 

*' Your much obliged and most obedient humble Servant, 

" R. W., Curate of S — 
" To Mr. C, of Lancaster." 

About the time when this letter was written, the Bishop of 
Chester recommended the scheme of joining the curacy of 
Ulpha to the contiguous one of Seathwaite, and the nomin- 
ation was offered to Mr. Walker ; but an unexpected difficulty 
arising, Mr. W. in a letter to the Bishop, (a copy of which, 
in his own beautiful hand-writing, now lies before me,) thus 
expresses himself: "If he," meaning the person in whom 
the difficulty originated, " had suggested any such objection 
before, I should utterly have declined any attempt to the 
curacy of Ulpha ; indeed, I was always apprehensive it 
might be disagreeable to my auditory at Seathwaite, as they 
have been always accustomed to double duty, and the in- 
habitants of Ulpha despair of being able to support a school- 
master who is not curate there also ; which suppressed all 

B 3 



54 NOTES. 

thoughts in «ie of serving them both.'* And in a second 
letter to the Bishop he writes : 

" My Lord, 
" I have the favour of yours of the 1st inst., and am 
exceedingly obliged on account of the Ulpha affair : if that 
curacy should lapse into your Lordship's hands, I would beg 
leave rather to decline than embrace it ; for the chapels of 
Seathwaite and Ulpha annexed together, would be apt to 
cause a general discontent among the inhabitants of both 
places ; by either thinking themselves slighted, being only 
served alternately, or neglected in the duty, or attributing 
it to covetousness in me ; all which occasions of murmuring 
T would willingly avoid." And in concluding his former 
letter, he expresses a similar sentiment upon the same oc- 
casion, " desiring, if it be possible, however, as much as in 
me lieth, to live peaceably with all men.*' 

The year following, the curacy of Seathwaite was again 
augmented ; and to effect this augmentation, fifty pounds had 
been advanced by himself ; and in 1760, lands were pur- 
chased with eight hundred 'pounds. Scanty as was his in- 
come, the frequent offer of much better benefices could not 
tempt Mr. W. to quit a situation where he had been so long 
happy, with a consciousness of being useful. Among his 
papers I find the following copy of a letter, dated 1775, 
twenty years after his refusal of the curacy of Ulpha, which 
will show what exertions had been made for one of his sons. 



NOTES. 55 

" May it please your Grace, 

« Our remote situation here makes it difficult to get the 
necessary information for transacting business regularly : 
such is the reason of my giving your Grace the present 
trouble. 

" The bearer (my son) is desirous of offering himself candi- 
date for deacon's orders, at your Grace's ensuing ordination ; 
the first, on the 25th inst. so that his papers could not be 
transmitted in due time. As he is now fully at age, and I 
have afforded him education to the utmost of my ability, it 
would give me great satisfaction (if your Grace would take 
him, and find him qualified) to have him ordained. His 
constitution has been tender for some years; he entered 
the college of Dublin, but his health would not permit him 
to continue there, or I would have supported him much 
longer. He has been with me at home above a year, in 
which time he has gained great strength of body, sufficient, 
I hope, to enable him for performing the function. Divine 
Providence, assisted by liberal benefactors, has blest my 
endeavours, from a small income, to rear a numerous family ; 
and as my time of life renders me now unfit for much future 
expectancy from this world, I should be glad to see my 
son settled in a promising way to acquire an honest livelihood 
for himself. His behaviour, so far in life, has been irre- 
proachable ; and I hope he will not degenerate, in principles 
or practice, from the precepts and pattern of an indulgent 
parent. Your Grace's favourable reception of this, from a 

E 4 



56 NOTES. 

distant corner of the diocese, and an obscure hand, will 
excite filial gratitude, and a due use shall be made of the 
obligation vouchsafed thereby to 

" Your Grace's very dutiful and most obedient 
** Son and Servant, 

«' Robert Walker/' 

The same man, ^ho tvas thus liberal in the education of 
his numerous family, was even munificent in hospitality as a 
parish priest. Every Sunday, were served, upon the long 
table, at which he has been described sitting with a child 
upon his knee, messes of broth, for the refreshment of those 
of his congregation who came from a distance, and usually 
took their seats as parts of his own household. It seems 
scarcely possible that this custom could have commenced 
before the augmentation of his cure; and, what would to many 
have been a high price of self-denial, was paid, by the pastor 
and his family, for this gratification ; as the treat could only 
be provided by dressing at one time the whole, perhaps, of 
their weekly allowance of fresh animal food ; consequently, 
for a succession of days, the table was covered with cold 
victuals only. His generosity in old age may be still further 
illustrated by a little circumstance relating to an orphan 
grandson, then ten years of age, which I find in a copy of a 
letter to one of his sons ; he requests that half-a-guinea may 
be left for " little Robert's pocket-money," who was then at 
school ; entrusting it to the care of a lady^ who, as he says. 



NOTES. *V ^ 57 

<• may sometimes frustrate his squandering it away foolishly," 
and promising to send him an equal allowance annually for 
the same purpose. The conclusion of the same letter is so 
characteristic, that I cannot forbear to transcribe it. " We,'* 
meaning his wife and himself, " are in our wonted state of 
health, allowing for the hasty strides of old age knocking 
daily at our door, and threateningly telling us, we are not 
only mortal, but must expect ere long to take our leave of 
our ancient cottage, and lie down in our last dormitory. 
Pray pardon my neglect to answer yours : let us hear sooner 
from you, to augment the mirth of the Christmas holidays. 
Wishing you all the pleasures of the approaching season, I 
am, dear Son, with lasting sincerity, yours affectionately, 

" Robert Walker." 
He loved old customs and usages, and in some instances 
stuck to them to his own loss ; for, having had a sum of money 
lodged in the hands of a neighbouring tradesman, when long 
course of time had raised the rate of interest ; and more 
was offered, he refused to accept it ; an act not difficult to 
one, who, while he was drawing seventeen pounds a-year 
from his curacy, declined, as we have seen, to add the 
profits of another small benefice to his own, lest he should 
be suspected of cupidity. — From this vice he was utterly 
free ; he made no charge for teaching school ; such as could 
afford to pay, gave him Vhat they pleased. When very 
young, having kept a diary of his expenses however trifling, 
the large amount, at the end of the year, surprised him ; 



58 ♦ NOTES. 

and from that time the rule of his life was to be ceconomical, 
not avaricious. At his decease he left behind him no less a 
sum than £2000. and such a sense of his various excel- 
lences was prevalent in the country, that the epithet of 
WONDERFUL is to this day attached to his name. 

There is in the above sketch something so extraordinary 
as to require further explanatory details. — And to begin 
with his industry ; eight hours in each day, during five days 
in the week, and half of Saturday, except when the labours 
of husbandry were urgent, he was occupied in teaching. 
His seat was within the rails of the altar ; the communion- 
table was his desk ; and, like Shenstone's school-mistress, 
the master employed himself at the spinning-wheel, while 
the children were repeating their lessons by his side. Every 
evening, after school hours, if not more profitably engaged, 
he continued the same kind of labour, exchanging, for the 
benefit of exercise, the small wheel, at which he had sate, 
for the large one on which wool is spun, the spinner 
stepping to and fro. — Thus, was the wheel constantly in 
readiness to prevent the waste of a moment's time. Nor 
was his industry with the pen, when occasion called for 
it, less eager. Entrusted with extensive management of 
public and private affairs, he acted in his rustic neighbour- 
hood as scrivener, writing out petitions, deeds of convey- 
ance, wills, covenants, &c. with pecuniary gain to himself,^ 
and to the great benefit of his employers. These labours 
(at all times considerable) at one period of the year, viz. be- 



NOTES. 59 

tween Christmas and Candlemas, when money transactions 
are settled in this country, were often so intense, that he 
passed great part of the night, and sometimes whole nights, 
at his desk. His garden also was tilled by his own hand ; 
he had a right of pasturage upon the mountains for a few 
sheep and a couple of cows, which required his attendance; 
with this pastoral occupation, he joined the labours of hus- 
bandry upon a small scale, renting two or three acres in 
addition to his own less than one acre of glebe ; and the 
humblest drudgery which the cultivation of these fields 
required was performed by himself. 

He also assisted his neighbours in hay -making and shear- 
ing their flocks, and in the performance of this latter ser- 
vice he was eminently dexterous. They, in their turn, com- 
plimented him with a present of a hay-cock, or a fleece; 
less as a recompence for this particular service than as a ge- 
neral acknowledgment. The Sabbath was in a strict sense 
kept holy ; the Sunday evenings being devoted to reading 
the Scripture and family prayer. The principal festivals 
appointed by the Church were also duly observed ; but 
through every other day in the week, through every week 
in the year, he was incessantly occupied in work of hand or 
mind ; not allowing a moment for recreation, except upon 
a Saturday afternoon, when he indulged himself with a 
Newspaper, or sometimes with a Magazine. The frugality 
and temperance established in his house, were as admirable 
as the industry. Nothing to which the name of luxury* 



,<^' 



60 ^* NOTES. 



could be given was there known ; in the latter part of his 
life, indeed, when tea had been brought into almost general 
use, it was provided for visitors, and for such of his own fa- 
mily as returned occasionally to his roof, and had been 
accustomed to this refreshment elsewhere ; but neither he 
nor his wife ever partook of it. The raiment worn by his 
family was comely and decent, but as simple as their diet ; 
the home-spun materials were made up into apparel by their 
own hands. At the time of the decease of this thrifty pair, 
their cottage contained a large store of webs of woollen and 
linen cloth, woven from thread of their own spinning. And 
it is remarkable, that the pew in the chapel in which the 
family used to sit, remained a few years ago neatly lined 
with woollen cloth spun by the pastor's own hands. It is the 
only pew in the chapel so distinguished ; and I know of no 
other instance of his conformity to the delicate accommoda- 
tions of modern times. The fuel of the house, like that of 
their neighbours, consisted of peat, procured from the 
mosses by their own labour. The lights by which in the 
winter evenings their work was performed, were of their 
own manufacture, such as still continue to be used in these 
cottages ; they are made of the pith of rushes dipped in any 
unctuous substance that the house affords. White candles, 
as tallow candles are here called, were reserved to honour 
the Christmas festivals, and were perhaps produced upon no 
other occasions. Once a month, during the proper season, 
ti sheep was drawn from their small mountain flock, and 



NOTES. 61 

killed for the use of the family ; and a cow, towards the 
close of the year, was salted and dried, for winter provision : 

the hide was tanned to furnish them with shoes By these 

various resources, this venerable clergyman reared a numer- 
ous family, not only preserving them, as he affectingly says, 
" from wanting the necessaries of life ;" but afforded them an 
unstinted education, and the means of raising themselves in 
society. 

It might have been concluded that no one could thus, as 
it were, have converted his body into a machine of industry 
for the humblest uses, and kept his thoughts so frequently 
bent upon secular concerns, without grievous injury to the 
more precious parts of his nature. How could the powers 
of intellect thrive, or its graces be displayed, in the midst of 
circumstances apparently so unfavourable, and where, to the 
direct cultivation of the mind, so small a portion of time was 
allotted ? But, in this extraordinary man, things in their na- 
ture adverse were reconciled ; his conversation was remark- 
able, not only for being chaste and pure, but for the degree 
in which it was fervent and eloquent ; his written style was 
correct, simple, and animated. Nor did his affections suffer 
more than his intellect ; he was tenderly alive to all the 
duties of his pastoral office : the poor and needy " he never 
sent empty away," — the stranger was fed and refreshed in 
passing that unfrequented vale, — the sick were visited ; gifd 
the feelings of humanity found further exercise among the 
distresses and embarrassments in the worldly estate of his 



62 NOTES. 

neighbours, with which his talents for business made him 
acquainted ; and the disinterestedness, impartiality, and up- 
rightness which he maintained in the management of all af- 
fairs confided to him, were virtues seldom separated in his 
own conscience from religious obligations. Nor could such 
conduct fail to remind those who witnessed it of a spirit 
nobler than law or custom ; they felt convictions which, but 
for such intercourse, could not have been afforded, that, as 
in the practice of their pastor, there was no guile, so in his 
faith there was nothing hollow ; and we are warranted in 
believing that, upon these occasions, selfishness, obstinacy, 
and discord would often give way before the breathings of 
his good-will and saintly integrity. It may be presumed 
also, while his humble congregation were listening to the 
moral precepts which he delivered from the pulpit, and to 
the Christian exhortations that they should love their neigh- 
bour as themselves, and do as they would be done unto, 
that peculiar efficacy tv^as given to the preacher's labours by 
recollections in the minds of his congregation, that they 
were called upon to do no more than his own actions were 
daily setting before their eyes. 

The afternoon service in the chapel was less numerously 
attended than that of the morning, but by a more serious au- 
ditory ; the lesson from the New Testament, on those occa- 
sions, was accompanied by Birkett's Commentaries, These les- 
sons he read with impassioned emphasis, frequently drawing 
tears from his hearers, and leaving a lasting impression upon 



^' 



NOTES. 63 

their minds. His devotional feelings and the powers of his own 
mind were further exercised, along with those of his family, in 
perusing the Scriptures ; not only on the Sunday evenings, but 
on every other evening, while the rest of the household were 
at work, some one of the children, and in her turn the ser- 
vant, for the sake of practice in reading, or for instruction, 
read the Bible aloud ; and in this manner the whole was re- 
peatedly gone through. That no common importance was 
attached to the observance of religious ordinances by his 
family, appears from the following memorandum by one of 
his descendants, which I am tempted to insert at length, as 
it is characteristic, and somewhat curious. " There is a 
small chapel, in the county palatine of Lancaster, where a 
certain clergyman has regularly officiated above sixty years, 
and a few months ago administered the sacrament of the 
Lord's Supper in the same, to a decent number of devout 
communicants. After the clergyman had received himself, 
the first company out of the assembly who approached the 
altar, and kneeled down to be partakers of the sacred ele- 
ments, consisted of the parson's wife, to whom he had been 
married upwards of sixty years : one son and his wife ; four 
daughters, each with her husband ; whose ages all added to- 
gether amount to above 714 years. The several and respec- 
tive distances from the place of each of their abodes to the 
chapel where they all communicated, will measure more 
than 1000 English miles. Though the narration will appear 
surprising, it is without doubt a fact, that the same persons, 



64. NOTES. 

exactly four years before, met at the same place, and all 
joined in performance of the same venerable duty." 

He was indeed most zealously attached to the doctrine 
and frame of the Established Church. We have seen him 
congratulating himself that he had no dissenters in his cure 
of any denomination. Some allowance must be made for 
the state of opinion when his first religious impressions were 
received, before the reader will acquit him of bigotry, when 
I mention, that at the time of the augmentation of the cure, 
he refused to invest part of the money in the purchase of an 
estate offered to him upon advantageous terms, because the 
proprietor was a Quaker; — whether from scrupulous appre- 
hension that a blessing would not attend a contract framed for 
the benefit of the Church between persons not in religious 
sympathy with each other ; or, as a seeker of peace, he was 
afraid of the uncomplying disposition which at one time was 
too frequently conspicuous in that sect. Of this an instance 
had fallen under his own notice ; for, while he taught school 
at Loweswater, certain persons of that denomination had re- 
fused to pay, or be distrained upon, for the accustomed an- 
nual interest due from them, among others, under the title 
of church stock ; a great hardship upon the incumbent, for 
the curacy of Loweswater was then scarcely less poor than 
that of Seathwaite. To what degree this prejudice of his 
was blameable need not be determined ; — certain it is, that 
he was not only desirous, as he himself says, to live in 
peace, but in love, with all men. He was placable, and 



NOTES. 65 

charitable in his judgments ; and, however correct in con- 
duct and rigorous to himself, he was ever ready to forgive 
the trespasses of others, and to soften the censure that was 
cast upon their frailties. — It would be unpardonable to omit 
that, in the maintenance of his virtues, he received due sup- 
port from the Partner of his long life. She was equally 
strict in attending to her share of their joint cares, nor less 
diligent in her appropriate occupations. A person who had 
been some time their servant in the latter part of their lives, 
concluded the panegyric of her mistress by saying to me, 
" she was no less excellent than her husband; she was good 
to the poor, she was good to every thing !" He survived for a 
short time this virtuous companion. When she died, he 
ordered that her body should be borne to the grave by three 
of her daughters and one grandaughter ; and, when the 
corpse was lifted from the threshold, he insisted upon lend- 
ing his aid, and feehng about, for he was then almost blind, 
took hold of a napkin fixed to the coffin ; and, as a bearer of 
the body, entered the Chapel, a few steps from the lowly 
Parsonage. 

What a contrast does the life of this obscurely-seated, and, 
in point of worldly wealth, poorly-repaid Churchman, pre- 
sent to that of a Cardinal Wolsey ! 

" O 'tis a burthen, Cromwell, 'tis a burthen 
Too heavy for a man who hopes for heaven ! " 



66 NOTES. 

We have been dwelling upon images of peace in the moral 
world, that have brought us again to the quiet enclosure of 
consecrated ground, in which this venerable pair lie interred. 
The sounding brook, that rolls close by the church-yard 
without disturbing feeling or meditation, is now unfortu- 
nately laid bare ; but not long ago it participated, with the 
chapel, the shade of some stately ash-trees, which will not 
spring again. While the spectator from this spot is looking 
round upon the girdle of stony mountains that encompasses 
the vale, — masses of rock, out of which monuments for all 
men that ever existed might have been hewn, it would sur- 
prise him to be told, as with truth he might be, that the plain 
blue slab dedicated to the memory of this aged pair, is a 
production of a quarry in North Wales. It was sent as a 
mark of respect by one of their descendants from the vale 
of Festiniog, a region almost as beautiful as that in which it 
now lies ! 

Upon the Seathwaite Brook, at a small distance from the 
Parsonage, has been erected a mill for spinning yarn ; it is a 
mean and disagreeable object, though not unimportant to 
the spectator, as calling to mind the momentous changes 
wrought by such inventions in the frame of society — changes 
which have proved especially unfavourable to these moun^ 
tain solitudes. So much had been effected by those new 
powers, before the subject of the preceding biographical 
sketch closed his life, that their operation could not escape 
his notice, and doubtless excited touching reflections upon 



NOTES. 67 

the comparatively insignificant results of his own manual 
industry. But Robert Walker was not a man of times and 
circumstances ; had he lived at a later period, the principle 
of duty would have produced application as unremitting; 
the same energy of character would have been displayed, 
though in many instances with widely-different effects. 

Having mentioned in this narrative the vale of Lowes- 
water as a place where Mr. Walker taught school, I will 
add a few memorandums from its parish register, respecting 
a person apparently of desires as moderate, with whom he 
must have been intimate during his residence there. 

" Let him that would, ascend the tottering seat 
Of courtly grandeur, and become as great 
As are his mounting wishes ; but for me, 
Let sweet repose and rest my portion be. 

Henry J'oREST, Curate. 

Honour, the idol which the most adore, 
Receives no homage from my knee ; 
Content in privacy I value more 
Than all uneasy dignity. 

Henry Forest came to Lowes-water, 1708, being 25 years 
of age." 

" This Curacy was twice augmented by Queen Anne's 
bounty. The first payment, with great difficulty, was paid 

F 2 



68 NOTES. 

to Mr. John Curwen of London, on the 9th of May, 1724, 
deposited by me, Henry Forest, Curate of Lowes-water. 
Y*^ said 9th of May, y^ said Mr. Curwen went to the office 
and saw my name registered there, &c. This, by the Pro- 
vidence of God, came by lot to this poor place. 

Haec testor H. Forest." 

In another place he records, that the sycamore trees were 
planted in the church -yard in 1710. 

He died in 1741, having been curate thirty-four years. 
It is not improbable that H. Forest was the gentleman who 
assisted Robert Walker in his classical studies at Lowes- 
water. 

To this parish register is prefixed a motto, of which the 
following verses are a part. 

" Invigilate viri, tacito nam tempora gressu 
DifFugiunt, nulloque sono convertitur annus ; 
Utendum est etate, cito pede praeterit aetas." 



Sonnet XXXIII. 
" We feel that we are greater than we know." 

" And feel that I am happier than I know." — Milton. 

The allusion to the Greek Poet will be obvious to the 
classical reader. 



VAUDRACOUR AND JULIA. 



«t 



F 3 



The Jbllotving tvas written as an Episode, in a work from 
which its length may perhaps exclude it. The facts are 
true ; no inverition as to these has been exercised, as none 
was needed. 



VAUDRACOUR AND JULIA. 



O liappy time of youthful lovers, (thus 
My story may begin) O balmy time, 
In which a love-knot on a lady's brow 
Is fairer than the fairest star in heaven ! 
To such inheritance of blessed fancy 
(Fancy that sports more desperately with minds 
Than ever fortune hath been known to do) 
The high-born Vaudracour was brought, by years 
Whose progress had a little overstepped 
His stripling prime. A town of small repute, 
Among the vine-clad mountains of Auvergne, 
Was the Youth's birth-place. There he woo'd a Maid 
Who heard the heart-felt music of his suit 
With answering vows. Plebeian was the stock, 

F 4< 



72 VAUDRACOUR AND JULIA. 

Plebeian, though ingenuous, the stock, 
From which her graces and her honours sprung; 
And hence the father of the enamoured Youth, 
With haughty indignation, spurn'd the thought 
Of such alliance. — From their cradles up, 
With but a step between their several homes, 
Twins had they been in. pleasure; after strife 
And petty quarrels, had grown fond again ; 
Each other's advocate, each other's stay; 

And strangers to content if long apart. 
Or more divided than a sportive pair 

Of sea-fowl, conscious both that they are hovering 

Within the eddy of a common blast. 

Or hidden only by the concave depth 

Of neighbouring billows from each other's sight. 
Thus, not without concurrence of an age 

Unknown to memory, was an earnest given, 

By ready nature, for a life of love. 

For endless constancy and placid truth ; 

But whatsoe'er of such rare treasure lay 

Reserved, had fate permitted, for support 



v 
VAUDRACOUR AND JULIA. 73 

Of their maturer years, his present mind 

Was under fascination ; — he beheld 

A vision, and adored the thing he saw. 

Arabian fiction never filled the world 

With half the wonders that were wrought for him. 

Earth breathed in one great presence of the spring; 

Life turn'd the meanest of her implements, 

Before his eyes, to price above all gold ; 

The house she dwelt in was a sainted shrine ; 

Her chamber window did surpass in glory 

The portals of the dawn ; all paradise 

Could, by the simple opening of a door, 

Let itself in upon him ; pathways, walks, 

Swarm'd with enchantment, till his spirit sank 

Surcharged within him, — overblest to move 

Beneath a sun that wakes a weary world 

To its dull round of ordinary cares ; 

A man too happy for mortality! ' 

So passed the time, till, whether through effect 
Of some unguarded moment that dissolved 
Virtuous restraint — ah, speak it, think it not 1 



74 VAUDRACOUR AND JULIA. 

Deem rather that the fervent Youth, who saw 

So many bars between his present state 

And the dear haven where he wished to be 

In honourable wedlock with his Love, 

Was inwardly prepared to turn aside 

From law and custom, and entrust his cause 

To nature for a happy end of all ; 

Deem that by such fond hope the Youth was swayed, 

And bear with their transgression, when I add 

That Julia, wanting yet the name of wife, 

Carried about her for a secret grief 

The promise of a mother. 

To conceal 
The threatened shame, the parents of the Maid 
Found means to hurry her away by night 
And unforewarned, that in some distant spot 
She might remain shrouded in privacy. 
Until the babe was born. When morning came 
The Lover, thus bereft, stung with his loss, 
And all uncertain whither he should turn, 
Chaf 'd like a wild beast in the toils ; but soon 



VAUDRACOUR AND JULIA. 75 

Discovering traces of the fugitives, 
Their steps he followed to the Maid^s retreat. 
The sequel may be easily divined, — 
Walks to and fro — watchings at every hour ; 
And the fair Captive, who, whene'er she may, 
Is busy at her casement as the swallow 
Fluttering its pinions, almost within reach, 
About the pendant nest ; did thus espy 
Her Lover ; — thence a stolen interview, 
Accomplished under friendly shade of night. 

I pass the raptures of the Pair ; — such theme 
Is, by innumerable poets, touched 
In more delightful verse than skill of mine 
Could fashion, chiefly by that darling bard 
Who told of Juliet and her Romeo, 
And of the lark's note heard before its time, 
And of the streaks that laced the severing clouds 
In the unrelenting east. — Through all her courts 
The vacant City slept ; the busy winds, 
That keep no certain intervals of rest, 
Mov'd not ; meanwhile the galaxy displayed 



76 VAUDRACOUR AND JULIA. 

Her fires, that like mysterious pulses beat 
Aloft ; — momentous but uneasy bliss ! 
To their full hearts the universe seemed hung 
On that brief meeting's slender filament ! 

They parted ; and the generous Vaudracour 
Reached speedily the native threshold, bent 
On making (so the Lovers had agreed) 
A sacrifice of birth-right^ to attain 
A final portion from his Father's hand ; 
Which granted, Bride and Bridegroom then would flee 
To some remote and solitary place, 
Shady as night and beautiful as heaven, 
Where they may live, with no one to behold 
Their happiness, or to disturb their love. 
But no*m of this no whisper ; not the less, 
If ever an obtrusive word were dropped 
Touching the matter of his passion, still. 
In his stern Father's hearing, Vaudracour 
Persisted openly that death alone 
Should abrogate his human privilege 
Divine, of swearing everlasting truth, 
Upon the altar, to the Maid he loved. 



VAUDRACOUR AND JULIA. 77 

" You shall be baffled in your mad intent ^ 
If there be justice in the Court of France," 
Muttered the Father. — From this time the Youth 
Conceived a terror, — and, by night or day, 
Stirred no where without arms. To their rural seatj 
Meanwhile, his Parents artfully withdrew 
Upon some feigned occasion, and the Son 
Remained with one attendant. At midnight 
When to his chamber he retired, attempt 
Was made to seize him by three armed men. 
Acting, in furtherance of the Father's will. 
Under a private signet of the State. 
One, did the Youth's ungovernable hand 
Assault and slay; — and to a second gave 
A perilous wound, — he shuddered to behold 
The breathless corse ; then peacefully resigned 
His person to the law, was lodged in prison. 
And wore the fetters of a criminal. 

Have you beheld a tuft of winged seed 
That, from the dandelion's naked stalk 
Mounted aloft, is suffered not to use 



78 VAUDRACOUR AND JULIA. 

Its natural gifts for purposes of rest, 

Driven by the autumnal whirlwind to and fro 

Through the wide element ? or have you marked 

The heavier substance of a leaf-clad bough, 

Within the vortex of a foaming flood. 

Tormented ? by such aid you may conceive 

The perturbation of each mind ; — ah, no ! 

Desperate the Maid, — the Youth is stained with blood ! 

But as the troubled seed and tortured bough 

Is man, subjected to despotic sway. 

For him, by private influence with the Court, 
Was pardon gained, and liberty procured ; 
But not without exaction of a pledge 
Which liberty and love dispersed in air. 
He flew to her from whom they would divide him — 
He clove to her who could not give him peace — 
Yea, his first word of greeting was, — " All right 
Is gone from me ; my lately-towering hopes, 
To the least fibre of their lowest root, 
Are withered ; — thou no longer canst be mine. 



VAUDRACOUR AND JULIA. 79 

I thine — the conscience-stricken must not woo 
The unruffled Innocent, — I see thy face, 
-Behold thee, and my misery is complete !" 

" One, are we not?" exclaimed the Maiden — " One, 
For innocence and youth, for weal and woe ?" 
Then, with the Father's name she coupled words 
Of vehement indignation ; but the Youth 
Checked her with filial meekness ; for no thought 
Uncharitable, no presumptuous rising 
Of hasty censure, modelled in the eclipse 
Of true domestic loyalty, did e'er 
Find place within his bosom. — Once again 
The persevering wedge of tyranny 
Achieved their separation ; — and once more 
Were they united, — to be yet again . 
Disparted — pitiable lot ! But here 
A portion of the Tale may well be left 
In silence, though my memory could add 
Much how the Youth, in scanty space of time. 
Was traversed from without ; much, too, of thoughts 



80 VAUDRACOUR AND JULIA. 

That occupied his days in solitude 
Under privation and restraint ; and what, 
Through dark and shapeless fear of things to come, 
And what, through strong compunction for the past, 
He suffered ■ — breaking down in heart and mind ! 

Doomed to a third and last captivity. 
His freedom he recovered on the eve 
Of Julia's travail. When the babe was born 
Its presence tempted him to cherish schemes 
Of future happiness. " You shall return, 
Julia," said he, " and to your Father's house 
Go with the Child. — You have been wretched, yet 
The silver shower, whose reckless burthen weighs 
Too heavily upon the lily's head, 
Oft leaves a saving moisture at its root. 
Malice, beholding you,^will melt away. 
Go ! — 'tis a Town where both of us were born ; 
None will reproach you, for our truth is known ; 
And if, amid those once-bright bowers, our fate 
Remain unpitied , pity is not in man. 
With ornaments — the prettiest, nature yields 



VAUDRACOUR AND JULIA. 81 

Or art can fashion, shall you deck your Boy, 

And feed his countenance with your own sweet looks 

Till no one can resist him. — Now, even now, 

I see him sporting on the sunny lawn ; 

My Father from the window sees him too; 

Startled, as if some new-created Thing 

Enriched the earth, or Faery of the woods 

Bounded before him; — but the unweeting Child 

Shall by his beauty win his Grandsire's heart 

So that it shall be softened, and our loves 

End happily — as they began!" These gleams 

Appeared but seldom: oftener was he seen 

Propping a pale and melancholy face 

Upon the Mother's bosom ; resting thus 

His head upon one breast, w^hile from the other 

The Babe was drawing in its quiet food. 

— That pillow is no longer to be thine, 

Fond Youth ! that mournful solace now must pass 

Into the list of things that cannot be ! 

Unwedded Julia, terror-smitten, hears 

The sentence, by her Mother's lip pronounced, 

G 



82 VAUDRACOUR AND JULIA. 

That dooms her tc a Convent. — Who shall tell, 
Who dares report, the tidings to the Lord 
Of her affections? So they blindly asked 
Who knew not to what quiet depths a weight 
Of agony had press'd the sufferer down ; — 
The word, by others dreaded, he can hear 
Composed and silent, without visible sign 
Of even the least emotion. Noting this 
When the impatient Object of his love 
Upbraided him with slackness, he returned 
No answer, only took the Mother's hand 
And kissed it — seemingly devoid of pain, 
Or care, that what so tenderly he pressed, 
Was a dependant upon the obdurate heart 
Of One who came to disunite their lives 
For ever — sad alternative I preferred, 
By the unbending Parents of the Maid, 
To secret 'spousal s meanly disavowed. — 
— So be it ! 

In the city he remained 
A season after Julia had withdrawn 



VAUDRACOUR AND JULIA. 83 

To those religious walls. He, too, departs — 
Who with him? — even the senseless Little-one! 
With that sole Charge he pass'd the city-gates 
For the last time, attendant by the side 
Of a close chair, a litter, or sedan. 
In which the Babe was carried. To a hill. 
That rose a brief league distant from the town, 
The Dwellers in that house where he had lodged 
Accompanied his steps, by anxious love 
Impell'd : — they parted from him there, and stood 
Watching below, till he had disappeared 
On the hill-top. His eyes he scarcely took. 
Throughout that journey, from the vehicle 
(Slow-moving ark of all his hopes !) that veiled 
The tender Infant: and at every inn, 
And under every hospitable tree 
At which the Bearers halted or reposed. 
Laid him with timid care upon his knees. 
And looked, as mothers ne'er were known to look, 
Upon the Nursling which his arms embraced. 
— This was the manner in which Vaudracour 

G 2 



84 VAUDRACOUR AND JULIA. 

Departed with his Infant; and thus reached 

His Father's house, where to the innocent Child 

Admittance was denied. The young Man spake 

No words of indignation or reproof. 

But of his Father begged, a last request, 

That a retreat might be assigned to him 

Where in forgotten quiet he might dwell. 

With such allowance as his wants required; 

For wishes he had none. To a Lodge that stood 

Deep in a forest, with leave given, at the age 

Of four-and-twenty summers he withdrew ; 

And thither took with him his infant Babe, 

And one Domestic, for their common needs, 

An aged Woman. It consoled him here 

To attend upon the Orphan, and perform 

Obsequious service to the precious Child, 

Which, after a short time, by some mistake, 

Or indiscretion of the Father, died. — 

The Tale I follow to its last recess 

Of suffering or of peace, I know not which ; 

Theirs be the blame who caused the woe, not mine 



VAUDRACOUR AND JULIA. 85 

From this time forth he never shared a smile 

With mortal creature. An Inhabitant 

Of that same Town, in which the Pair had left 

So lively a remembrance of their griefs, 

By chance of business, coming within reach 

Of his retirement, to the spot repaired 

With an intent to visit him. He reached 

The house, and only found the Matron there, 

Who told him that his pains were thrown away, 

For that her Master never uttered word 

To living Thing — not even to her. — Behold ! 

While they were speaking, Vaudracour a})proached ; 

But, seeing some one near, even as his hand 

Was stretched towards the garden gate, he shrunk — 

And, like a shadow, glided out of view. 

Shocked at his savage aspect, from the place 

The Visitor retired. 

Thus lived the Youth 

Cut off from all intelligence with man, 

And shunning even the light of common day; 

Nor could the voice of Freedom, which through France 

G 3 



86 VAUDRACOUR AND JULIA. 

Full speedily resounded, public hope, 
Or personal memory of his own deep wrongs. 
Rouse him : but in those solitary shades 
His days he wasted, an imbecile mind ! 



ADDRESSED TO , 



ON THE LONGEST DAY. 



Let us quit the leafy Arbour, 
And the torrent murmuring by ; 
X Sol has dropped into his harbour, 
Weary of the open sky. 

Evening now unbinds the fetters 
Fashioned by the glowing light ; 
All that breathe are thankful debtors 
To the harbinger of night. 

Yet by some grave thoughts attended 
Eve renews her calm career ; 
For the day that now is ended, 
Is the Longest of the Year. 






Laura ! sport, as now thou sportesty 
On this platform, light and free ; 
Take thy bliss, while longest, shortest. 
Are indifferent to thee 1 

Who would check the happy feeling 
That inspires the linnet's song ? 
Who would stop the swallow wheeling 
On her pinions swift and strong ? 

Yet, at this impressive season, 
Words, which tenderness can speak 
From the truths of homely reason^ 
Might exalt the loveliest cheek ; 

And, while shades to shades succeeding 
Steal the landscape from the sight, 
I would urge this moral pleading. 
Last forerunner of " Good night !" 



89 



Summer ebbs ; — each day that follows 
Is a reflux jfrom on high, 
Tending to the darksome hollows 
Where the frosts of winter lie. 

He who governs the creation. 
In his providence assigned 
Such a gradual declination 
To the life of human kind. 

Yet we mark it not; — fruits redden. 
Fresh flowers blow as flowers have blown. 
And the heart is loth to deaden 
Hopes that she so long hath known. 

Be thou wiser, youthful Maiden ! 
And, when thy decline shall come, 
Let not flowers, or boughs fruit-laden. 
Hide the knowledge of thy doom. 



90 

Now, even now, ere wrapped in slumber, 
Fix thine eyes upon the sea 
That absorbs time, space, and number, 
Look towards Eternity ! 

Follow thou the flowing River 
On whose breast are thither borne 
All Deceiv'd, and each Deceiver, 
Through the gates of night and morn ; 

Through the years' successive portals ; 
Through the bounds which many a star 
Marks, not mindless of frail mortals 
When his light returns from far. 

Thus, when Thou with Time hast travelPd 
Towards the mighty gulph of things. 
And the mazy Stream unravelPd 
With thy best imaginings ; 



91 

Think, if thou on beauty leanest, 
Think how pitiful that stay, 
Did not virtue give the meanest 
Charms superior to decay. 

Duty, like a strict preceptor. 
Sometimes frowns, or seems to frown ; 
Choose her thistle for thy sceptre. 
While thy brow youth's roses crown. 

Grasp it, — if thou shrink and tremble, 
Fairest Damsel of the green ! 
Thou wilt lack the only symbol 
That proclaims a genuine Queen ; 

And ensures those palms of honour 
Which selected spirits wear. 
Bending low before the Donor, 
Lord of Heaven's unchanging Year ! 



LAMENT OF MARY QUEEN OF SCOTS, 



ON THE EVE OF A NEW YEAR. 



'^ Smile of the Moon ! — for so I name 

That silent greeting from above ; 

A gentle flash of light that came 

From Her whom drooping Captives love ; 

Or art thou of still higher birth ? 

Thou that didst part the clouds of earth, 

My torpor to reprove ! 

" Bright boon of pitying Heaven — alas, 
I may not trust thy placid cheer ! 
Pondering that Time to-night will pass 
The threshold of another year ; 
For years to me are sad and dull ; 
My very moments are too full 
Of hopelessness and fear. 



LAMENT OF MARY QUEEN OF SCOTS. 93 

" — And yet, the soul-awakening gleam, 
That struck perchance the farthest cone 
Of Scotland's rockv wilds, did seem 
To visit me, and me alone ; 
Me, unapproach'd by any friend, 
Save those who to my sorrows lend 
Tears due unto their own, 

" To-night, the church-tower bells shall ring, 

Through these wide realms, a festive peal ; 

To the new year a welcoming ; 

A tuneful offering for the weal 

Of happy millions lulled in sleep ; 

While I am forced to watch and weep, 

By wounds that may not heal. 

'' Born all too high, by wedlock raised 
Still higher — to be cast thus low ! 
Would that mine eyes had never gaz'd 
On aught of more ambitious show 
Than the sweet flow'rets of the fields ! 
— It is my royal state that yields 
This bitterness of woe. 



94 LAMENT OF MARY QUEEN OF SCOTS. 

" Yet how ? — for I, if there be truth 
In the world's voice, was passing fair ; 
And beauty, for confiding youth, 
Those shocks of passion can prepare 
That kill the bloom before its time, 
And blanch, without the Owner's crime, 
The most resplendent hair. 

" Unblest distinctions ! showered on me 
To bind a lingering life in chains ; 
All that could quit my grasp, or flee, 
Is gone ; — but not the subtle stains 
Fixed in the spirit ; — for even here 
Can I be proud that jealous f^ar 
Of what I was remains. 

" A woman rules my prison's key ; 
A sister Queen, against the bent 
Of law and holiest sympathy. 
Detains me — doubtful of the event ; 
Great God, who feel'st for my distress. 
My thoughts are all that I possess, 
O keep them innocent ! 



LAMENT OF MARY QUEEN OF SCOTS. 95 

" Farewell for ever human aid. 
Which abject mortals vainly court ! 
By friends deceived, by foes betrayed. 
Of fears the prey, of hopes the sport, 
Nought but the world-redeeming Cross 
Is able to supply my loss. 
My burthen to support. 

" Hark ! the death-note of the year. 
Sounded by the castle-clock ! " — 
From her sunk eyes a stagnant tear 
Stole forth, unsettled by the shock ; 
But oft the woods renewed their green, 
Ere the tir'd head of Scotland's Queen 
Repos'd upon the block ! 



TO , 



ON HER FIRST ASCENT TO THE SUMMIT OF HELVELLYN. 



Inmate of a mountain Dwelling, 
Thou hast clomb aloft, and gaz'd. 
From the watch-towers of Helvellyn ; 
Awed, delighted, and amazed! 

Potent was the spell that bound thee 

In the moment of dismay, 

While blue Ether's arms, flung round thee, 

Stiird the pantings of dismay. 

Lo ! the dwindled woods and meadows ! 
What a vast abyss is there ! 
Lo ! the clouds, the solemn shadows. 
And the glistenings — heavenly fair ! 



TO ^ 97 



And a record of commotion 
Which a thousand ridges yield ; 
Ridge, and gulph, and distant ocean 
Gleaming like a silver shield ! 

— Take thy flight; — possess, inherit 
Alps or Andes — they are thine ! 
With the morning's roseate spirit, 
Sweep their length of snowy line ; 

Or survey the bright dominions 
In the gorgeous colours drest, 
Flung from off the purple pinions, 
Evening spreads throughout the west ! 

Thine are all the choral fountains 
Warbling in each sparry vault 
Of the untrodden lunar mountains ; 
Listen to their songs ! — or halt, 



H 



98 TO 

To Niphate*s top invited, 
Whither spiteful Satan steer'd ; 
Or descend where the ark alighted 
When the green earth re-appeared^ 



For the power of hills is on thee, 
As was witnessed through thine eye 
Then, when old Helvellyn won thee 
To confess their majesty 1 

1^ 



ODE 

TO LYCORIS, 

MAY, 1817. 



An age hath been when Earth was proud 
Of lustre too intense 
To be sustained ; and Mortals bowed 
The front in self-defence. 
Who tlien^ if Dian's crescent gleamed^ 
Or Cupid's sparkling arrow streamed 
While on the wing the Urchin play'd, 
Ck)uld fearlessly approach the shade ? 
— Enough for one soft vernal day, 
If I, a Bard of ebbing time 
And nurtured in a fickle clime, 
May haunt this horned bay ; 
Whose amorous water multiplies 
The flitting halcyon's vivid dyes ; 
And smoothes its liquid breast — to show 
These swan-lik^ specks of mountain snow, 

H 2 



iOO TO LYCORIS. 

White, as the pair that sHd along the plains 
Of Heaven, when Venus held the reins ! 

li. 

In youth we love the darksome lawn 

Brush'd by the owlef s wing ; 

Then, Twilight is preferred to Dawn, 

And Autumn to the Spring. 

Sad fancies do we then affect. 

In luxury of disrespect 

To our own prodigal excess 

Of too familiar happiness. 

Lycoris (if such name befit 

Thee, thee my life's celestial sign !) 

When Nature marks the year's decline 

Be ours to welcome it ; 

Pleased with the soil's requited cares ; 

Pleased with the blue that ether wears ; 

Pleased while the Sylvan world displays 

Its ripeness to the feeding gaze ; 

Pleased when the sullen winds resound the knell 

Of the resplendent miracle. 



TO LYCORIS. 101 

III. 

But something whispers to my heart 

That, as we downward tend, 

Lycoris ! life requires an art 

To which our souls must bend ; 

A skill — to balance and supply ; 

And, ere the flowing fount be dry, 

As soon it must, a sense to sip. 

Or drink, with no fastidious lip. 

Frank greeting, then, to that blithe Guest 

Diffusing smiles o'er land and sea, 

To aid the vernal Deity 

Whose home is in the breast ! 

May pensive Autumn ne'er present 

A claim to her disparagement ! 

While blossoms and the budding spray 

Inspire us in our own decay ; 

Still, as we nearer draw to life's dark goal, 

Be hopefiil Spring the favourite of the Soul ! 



H 3 



TO THE SAME. 



Enough of climbing toil ! — Ambition treads 

Here, as in busier scenes, ground steep and rough. 

Oft perilous, always tiresome ; and each step, 

As we for most uncertain gain ascend 

Toward the clouds, dwarfing the world below, 

Induces, for its old familiar sights. 

Unacceptable feelings of contempt, 

With wonder mixed — that Man could e'er be tied. 

In anxious bondage, to such nice array 

And formal fellowship of petty things ! 

Oh, 'tis the heart that magnifies this life. 

Making a truth and beauty of her own ! 

And moss-grown alleys, circumscribing shades. 

And gurgling rills, assist her in the work 

More efficaciously than realms outspread, 

As in a map, before the adventurer's gaze. 



TO THE SAME. 103 

Ocean and earth contending for regard ! 
Lo ! there a dim Egerian grotto fringed 
With ivy-twine, profusely from its brows 
Dependant, — enter without further aim ; 
And let me see thee sink into a mood 
Of quiet thought — protracted till thine eye 
Be calm as water when the winds are gone 
And no one can tell whither. Dearest Friend ! 
We two have known such happy hours together 
That, were power granted to replace them (fetched 
From out the pensive shadows where they lie) 
In the first warmth of their original sunshine, 
Loth should I be to use it ; passing sweet 
Are the domains of tender memory ! 



H 4 



SUGGESTED BY A BEAUTIFUL RUIN UPON ONE OF THE 
ISLANDS OF LOCH LOMOND, A PLACE CHOSEN FOR 
THE RETREAT OF A SOLITARY INDIVIDUAL, FROM 
WHOM THIS HABITATION ACQUIRED THE NAME OF 

fHE BROWNIE'S CELL. 



To barren heath, and quaking fen. 

Or depth of labyrinthine glen ; 

Or into trackless forest set 

With trees, whose lofty umbrage met ; 

World-wearied Men withdrew of yore, — 

(Penance their trust, and Prayer their store;] 

And in the wilderness were bound 

To such apartments as they found ; 

Or with a new ambition raised ; 

That God might suitably be praised. 



THE BROWNIE'S CELL. 105 

High lodged the Warrior, like a bird of prey ; 

Or where broad waters round him lay: 

But this wild Ruin is no ghost 

Of his devices — buried, lost ! 

Within this little lonely Isle 

There stood a consecrated Pile ; 

Where tapers burn'd, and mass was sung, 

For them whose timid spirits clung 

To mortal succour, though the tomb 

Had fixed, for ever fixed, their doom]! 

Upon those servants of another world 
When madding Power her bolts had hurled, 
Their habitation shook ; — it fell, 
And perish'd — save one narrow Cell ; 
Whither, at length, a Wretch retired 
Who neither grovelPd nor aspir'd : 
He, struggling in the net of pride, 
The future scorned, the past defied ; 
Still tempering, from the unguilty forge 
Of vain conceit, an iron scourge ! 



106 THE BROWNIE'S CELL. 

Proud Remnant was he of a fearless Race, 
Who stood and flourished face to face 
With their perennial hills ; — but Crime 
Hastening the stern decrees of Time, 
Brought low a Power, which from its home 
Burst, when repose grew wearisome ; 
And, taking impulse from the sword. 
And mocking its own plighted word. 
Had found, in ravage widely dealt, 
Its warfare's bourn, its travel's belt ! 

All, all were dispossessed, save Him whose smile 

Shot lightning through this lonely Isle ! 

No right had he but what he made 

To this small spot, his leafy shade ; 

But the ground lay within that ring 

To which he only dared to cling ; 

Renouncing here, as worse than dead, 

The craven few who bowed the head 

Beneath the change, who heard a claim 

How loud ! yet liv'd in peace with shame. 



THE BROWNIE'S CELL. 107 

From year to year this shaggy Mortal went 
(So seem'd it) down a strange descent: 
Till they, who saw his outward frame, 
Fix'd on him an unhallowed name ; 
Him — free from all malicious taint. 
And guiding, like the Patmos Saint, 
A pen unwearied — to indite. 
In his lone Isle, the dreams of night ; 
Impassioned dreams, that strove to span 
The faded glories of his Clan ! 

Suns that through blood their western harbour sought, 

And stars that in their courses fought, — 

Towers rent, winds combating with woods — 

Lands delug'd by unbridled floods, — 

And beast and bird that from the spell 

Of sleep took import terrible, — 

These types mysterious (if the show 

Of battle and the routed foe 

Had failed) would furnish an array 

Of matter for the dawning day ! 



108 THE BROWNIE'S CELL. 

How disappeared He ? — ask the Newt and Toad, 

Inheritors of his abode ; 

The Otter crouching undisturbed, 

In her dank cleft ; — but be thou curbed 

O froward Fancy ! mid a scene 

Of aspect winning and serene ; 

For those offensive creatures shun 

The inquisition of the sun ! 

And in this region flowers delight. 

And all is lovely to the sight. 

Spring finds not here a melancholy breast, 
When she applies her annual test 
To dead and living ; when her breath 
Quickens, as now, the withered heath ; — 
Nor flaunting Summer — when he throws 
His soul into the briar-rose ; 
Or calls the lily from her sleep 
Prolonged beneath the bordering deep; 
Nor Autumn, when the viewless wren 
Is warbling near the Brownie's Den. 



THE BROWNIE'S CELL. 109 

Wild Relique ! beauteous as the chosen spot 
In Nysa's isle, the embellish'd Grot ; 
Whither, by care of Lybian Jove, 
(High Servant of paternal Love) 
Young Bacchus was conveyed — to lie 
Safe from his step-dame Rhea's eye ; 
Where bud, and bloom, and fruitage, glowed, 
Close-crowding round the Infant God ; 
All colours, and the liveliest streak 
A foil to his celestial cheek ! 



COMPOSED AT CORA LINN, 

IN SIGHT OF Wallace's tower. 



" — How Wallace fought for Scotland, left the name 

Of Wallace to be found, like a wild flower, 

All over his dear Country; left^the deeds 

Of Wallace, like a family of ghosts, 

To people the steep rocks and river banks 

Her natural sanctuaries, with a local soul 

Of independence and stern liberty." MS, 



Lord of the Vale ! astounding Flood ! 
The dullest leaf, in this thick wood, 
Quakes — conscious of thy power ; 
The caves reply with hollow moan ; 
And vibrates, to its central stone. 
Yon time-cemented Tower ! 

And yet how fair the rural scene ! 
For thou, O Clyde, hast ever been 
Beneficent as strong ; 
Pleased in refreshing dews to steep 
The little trembling flowers that peep 
Thy shelving rocks among. 



COMPOSED AT CORA LINN. Ill 

Hence all who love their country, love 
To look on thee — delight to rove 
Where they thy voice can hear ; 
And, to the patriot-warrior's Shade, 
Lord of the vale ! to Heroes laid 
In dust, that voice is dear ! 

Along thy banks, at dead of night, , 
Sweeps visibly the Wallace Wight ; 
Or stands, in warlike vest. 
Aloft, beneath the moon's pale beam, 
A Champion worthy of the Stream, 
Yon grey tower's living crest ! 

But clouds and envious darkness hide 
A Form not doubtfully descried : — 
Their transient mission o'er, 
O say to what blind region flee 
These Shapes of awful phantasy ? 
To what untrodden shore ? 



112 COMPOSED AT CORA LINN. 

Less than divine command they spurn ; 
But this we from the mountains learn, 
And this the valleys show, 
That never will they deign to hold 
Communion where the heart is cold 
To human weal and woe. 

The man of abject soul in vain 
Shall walk the Marathonian Plain ; 
Or thrid the shadowy gloom, 
That still invests the guardian Pass, 
Where stood sublime Leonidas, 
Devoted to the tomb. 

Nor deem that it can aught avail 
For such to glide with oar or sail 
Beneath the piny wood. 
Where Tell once drew, by Uri's lake. 
His vengeful shafts — prepared to slake 
Their thirst in Tyrants' blood ! 



TO THE REV. DR. W . 

(with the sonnets to the river duddon, and other 
poems in this collection.) 



The Minstrels played their Christmas tune 
To-night beneath my cottage eaves ; 
While, smitten by a lofty moon. 
The' encircling Laurels, thick with leaves, 
Gave back a rich and dazzling sheen, 
That overpowered their natural green* 

Through hill and valley every breezie 

Had sunk to rest with folded wings ; 

Keen was the air, but could not freeze 

Nor check the music of the strings ; 

So stout and hardy were the band 

That scrap'd the chords with strenuous hand. 



114 TO THE REV. DR. W- 



And who but listen'd ? — till was paid 
Respect to every Inmate's claim ; 
The greeting given, the music played 
In honour of each household name, 
Duly pronounc'd with lusty call. 
And " merry Christmas" wish'd to all 1 

O Brother ! I revere the choice 
That took thee from thy native hills ; 
And it is given thee to rejoice : 
Though public care full often tills 
(Heaven only witness of the toil) 
A barren and ungrateful soil. 

Yet, would that Thou, with me and mine, 

Hadst heard this never-failing rite ; 

And seen on other faces shine 

A true revival of the light ; 

Which Nature, and these rustic Fowlers, 

In simple childhood, spread through ours ! 



♦ 



TO THE REV. DR. W . 115 

For pleasure hath not ceased to wait 
On these expected annual rounds. 

Whether the rich man's sumptuous gate 

* 

Call forth the unelaborate sounds, 
Or they are offered at the door 
That guards the lowliest of the poor. 

How touching, when, at midnight, sweep 
Snow-muffled winds, and all is dark, * . 

To hear — and sink again to sleep ! 
Or, at an earlier call, to mark, 
By blazing fire, the still suspense 
Of self-complacent innocence ; 

The mutual nod, — the grave disguise 

Of hearts with gladness brimming o'er ; 

And some unbidden tears that rise 

For names once heard, and heard no more; 

Tears brighten'd by the serenade 

For infant in the cradle laid ! 



I 2 



116 TO THE REV. DR. W- 



Ah ! not for emerald fields alone. 

With ambient streams more pure and bright 

Than fabled Cytherea's zone 

Glittering before the Thunderer's sight, 

Is to my heart of hearts endeared, 

The ground where we were born and rear'd 1 

Hail, ancient Manners ! sure defence. 
Where they survive, of wholesome laws ; 
Remnants of love whose modest sense 
Thus into narrow room withdraws ; 
Hail, Usages of pristine mould, 
And ye, that guard them, Mountains old ! 

Bear with me. Brother ! quench the thought 

That slights this passion, or condemns ; 

If thee fond Fancy ever brought 

From the proud margin of the Thames, 

And Lambeth's venerable towers. 

To humbler streams, and greener bowers. 



TO THE REV. DR. W . 117 

Yes, they can make, who fail to find, 

Short leisure even in busiest days ; 

Moments — to cast a look behind, 

And profit by those kindly rays 

That through the clouds do sometimes steal. 

And all the far-off past reveal. 

Hence, while the imperial City's din 
Beats frequent on thy satiate ear, 
A pleas'd attention I may win 
To agitations less severe. 
That neither overwhelm nor cloy. 
But fill the hollow vale with joy ! 



I 3 



REPENTANCE. 



A BALLAD. 



The fields which with covetous spirit we sold. 

Those beautiful fields, the delight of our day, 

Would have brought us more good than a burthen of 

gold, 
Could we but have been as contented as they. 

When the troublesome Tempter beset us, said I, 

" Let him come, with his purse proudly grasp'd in his 

hand ; 
But, Allan, be true to me, Allan, — we'll die 
Before he shall go with an inch of the land !" 

9 

There dwelt we, as happy as birds in their bowers ; 
Unfettered as bees that in gardens abide ; 
We could do what we chose with the land, it was ours ; 
And for us the brook murmur'd that ran bv its side. 



REPENTANCE. 119 

But now we are strangers, go early or late ; 
And often, like one overburthen'd with sin, 
With my hand on the latch of the half-open'd gate, 
I look at the fields — and I cannot go in ! 

When I walk by the hedge on a bright summer's day, 

Or sit in the shade of my grandfather's tree, 

A stern face it puts on, as if ready to say, 

" What ails you, that you must come creeping to me !" 

With our pastures about us, we could not be sad ; 
Our comfort was near if we ever were cross'd ; 
But the blessings, and comfort, and wealth that we had. 
We slighted them all, — and our birth-right was lost. 

Oh, ill-judging sire of an innocent son. 

Who must now be a wanderer ! — but peace to that 

strain ! 
Think of evening's repose when our labour was done, 
The Sabbath's return — and its leisure's soft chain ! 



I 4 



120 REPENTANCE, 

And in sickness, if night had been sparing of sleep. 
How cheer fill, at sunrise, the hill where I stood. 
Looking down on the kine, and our treasure of sheep 
That besprinkled the field — 'twas like youth in my 
blood ! 

Now I cleave to the house, and am dull as a snail ; 
And, oftentimes, hear the church-bell with a sigh. 
That follows the thought — We've no land in the vale, 
Save six feet of earth where our forefathers lie ! 



SONG FOR THE SPINNING WHEEL. 

FOUNDED UPON A BELIEF PREVALENT AMONG THE PAS- 
TORAL VALES OF WESTMORLAND. 



Swiftly turn the murmuring wheel ! 
Night has brought the welcome hour, 
When the weary fingers feel 
Help, as if from fairy power ; 
Dewy night o'ershades the ground ; 
Turn the swift wheel round and round ! 

Now, beneath the starry sky, 
Rest the widely-scatter*d sheep ; — 
Ply, the pleasant labour, ply ! — 
For the spindle, while they sleep, 
With a motion smooth and fine 
Gathers up a trustier line. 



1^2 SONG FOR THE SPINNING WHEEL. 

Short-liv'd likings may be bred 
By a glance from fickle eyes ; 
But true love is like the thread 
Which the kindly wool supplies, 
When the flocks are all at rest, 
Sleeping on the mountain's breast. 



HINT FROM THE MOUNTAINS 



FOR CERTAIN POLITICAL ASPIRANTS. 



Stranger, 'tis a sight of pleasure 
When the wings of genius rise, 
Their ability to measure 

With great enterprise; 
But in man was ne'er such darinor 
As yon Hawk exhibits, pairing 
His brave spirit with the war in 

The stormy skies I 

Mark him, how his power he uses, 

Lays it by, at will resumes ! 

Mark, ere for his haunt he chooses 

Clouds and utter glooms ! 
There, he wheels in downward mazes ; 
Sunward now his flight he raises. 
Catches fire, as seems, and blazes 

With uninjur'd plumes ! — 



124 HINT FROM THE MOUNTAINS. 

ANSWER. 

Traveller, 'tis no act of courage 
Which aloft thou dost discern ; 
No bold bird gone forth to forage 

Mid the tempest stern ; 
But such mockery as the Nations 
See, when Commonwealth- vexations 
Lift men from their native stations. 

Like yon tuft of fern ; 

Such it is, and not a Haggard 
Soaring on undaunted wing; 
'Tis by nature dull and laggard, 

A poor helpless Thing, 
Dry, and withered, light and yellow ; — 
That to be the tempest's fellow ! 
Wait — and you shall see how hollow 

Its endeavouring ! 



DION. 

"(see PLUTARCH ) 



1 

x AIR is the Swan, whose majesty, prevaiHng 

O^er breezeless water, on Locarno's lake, 

Bears him on while proudly sailing 

He leaves behind a moon-illumined wake : 

Behold ! the mantling spirit of reserve 

Fashions his neck into a goodly curve ; 

An arch thrown back between luxuriant wings 

Of whitest garniture, like fir-tree boughs 

To which, on some unruffl'd morning, clings 

A flaky weight of winter's purest snows ! 

— Behold ! — as with a gushing impulse heaves 

That downy prow, and softly cleaves 

The mirror of the crystal flood. 

Vanish inverted hill, and shadowy wood. 

And pendant rocks, where'er, in gliding state, 

Winds the mute Creature without visible Mate 



126 DION. 

Or rival, save the Queen of night 

Showering down a silver light, 

From heaven, upon her chosen favourite I 

2 
So pure, so bright, so fitted to embrace, 
Where'er he turn'd, a natural grace 
Of haughtiness without pretence, 
And to unfold a stiU magnificence, 
Was princely Dion, in the power 
And beauty of his happier hour. 
Nor less the homage that was seen to wait 
On Dion's virtues, when the lunar beam 
Of Plato's genius, from its lofty sphere, 
Fell round him in the grove of Academe, 
Softening their inbred dignity austere ; — 

That he, not too elate 

With self-sufficing solitude. 
But with majestic lowliness endued, 

Might in the universal bosom reign, 



DION. m 

And from affectionate observance gain. 
Help, under every change of adverse fate. 

S 

Five thousand warriors — O the rapturous day ! 

Each crown'd with flowers, and arm'd with spear and 

shield, 
Or ruder weapon which their course might yield, 
To Syracuse advance in bright array. 
Who leads them on ? — The anxious People see 
Long-exil'd Dion marching at their head, 
He also crown'd with flowers of Sicily, 
And in a white, far-beaming, corslet clad ! 
Pure transport undisturbed by doubt or fear 
The Gazers feel ; and, rushing to the plain. 
Salute those Strangers as a holy train 
Or blest procession (to the Immortals dear) 
That brought their precious liberty again. 
Lo ! when the gates are entered, on each hand, 
Down the long street, rich goblets filFd with wine 
In seemly order stand. 



128 DIOK. 

On tables set, as if for rites divine ; — - 
And, wheresoe'er the great Deliverer pass'd^ 

Fruits were strewn before his eye, ' 
And flowers upon his person cast 

In boundless prodigality; 
Nor did the general voice abstain from prayer^ 
Invoking Dion's tutelary care, 
As if a very Deity he were ! 



Mourn, hills and groves of Attica ! and mourn 

Illyssus, bending o'er thy classic urn ! 

Mourn, and lament for him whose spirit dreads 

Your once-sweet memory, studious walks and shades 1 

For him who to divinity aspir'd. 

Hot on the breath of popular applause, 

But through dependance on the sacred laws 

Framed in the schools where Wisdom dwelt retir'd, 

Intent to trace the ideal path of right 

(More fair than heaven's broad causeway pav'd with stars) 



DION. 129 

Which Dion learn'd to measure with deh'ght ; 

But he hath overleap'd the eternal bars ; 

And, following guides whose craft holds no consent 

With aught that breathes the ethereal element, 

Hath stained the robes of civil power with blood. 

Unjustly shed, though for the public good. 

Whence doubts that came too late, and wishes vain, 

Hollow excuses — and triumphant pain ; 

And oft his cogitations sink as low 

As, through the abysses of a joyless heart, 

The heaviest plummet of despair can go — 

But whence that sudden check ? — that fearful start ! 

He hears an uncouth sound — 

Anon his lifted eyes 
Saw at a long-drawn gallery's dusky bound, 
A Shape, of more than mortal size 
And hideous aspect, stalking round and round ! 

A woman's garb the Phantom wore. 

And fiercely swept the marble floor, — 

Like Auster whirling to and fro, 

His force on Caspian foam to try ; 

K 



130 DION. 

Or Boreas when he scours the snow 
That skins the plains of Thessaly, 
Or when aloft on Maenalus he stops 
His flight, mid eddying pine-tree tops I 

V. 

So, but from toil less sign of profit reaping. 
The sullen Spectre to her purpose bowed, 

Sweeping — vehemently sweeping — 
No pause admitted — no design avowed ! 
" Avaunt, inexplicable Guest ! — avaunt 
Intrusive Presence ! — Let me rather see 
The coronal that coiling vipers make; 
The torch that flames with many a lurid flake. 
And the long train of doleful pageantry 
Which they behold, whom vengeful Furies haunt, 
Who, while they struggle from the scourge to flee, 
Move where the blasted soil is not unworn. 
And, in their anguish, bear what other minds have borne I 



DION. 131 

VI. 

But Shapes that come not at an earthly call, 
Will not depart when mortal voices bid ; 
Lords of the visionary Eye whose lid, 
Once raised, remains aghast and will not fall ! 
Ye Gods, thought He, that servile Implement 
Obeys a mystical intent ! 
Your Minister would brush away 
The spots that to my soul adhere ; 
But should she labour night and day. 
They wiU not, cannot disappear. — 
Whence angry perturbations, — and that look 
Which no Philosophy can brook ! 

VII. 

Ill-fated Chief ! there are whose hopes are built 
Upon the ruins of thy glorious name ; 
Who, through the portal of one moment's guilt, 
Pursue thee with their deadly aim ! 



K 2 



132 DION. 

O matchless perfidy ! portentous lust 

Of monstrous crime ! — that horror-striking blade, 

Drawn in defiance of the Gods, hath laid 

The noble Syracusan low in dust ! 

Shudder the walls — the marble city wept — 

And sylvan places heaved a pensive sigh ; 

But in calm peace the appointed Victim slept. 

As he had fallen in magnanimity : 

Of spirit too capacious to require 

That Destiny her course should change ; too just 

To his own native greatness to desire 

That wretched boon, days lengthened by mistrust. 

So were the hopeless troubles, that involved 

The soul of Dion, instantly dissolved. 

Released firom life and cares of princely state. 

He left this moral grafted on his Fate, 

" Him only pleasure leads, and peace attends ; 

Him, only him, the shield of Jove defends. 

Whose means are fair and spotless as his ends." 



THE PILGRIM'S DREAM, 



OR, THE STAR AND THE GLOW-WORM. 



A Pilgrim, when the summer day 

Had closed upon his weary way, 

A lodging begg'd beneath a castle's roof ; 

But him the haughty Warder spurn'd ; 

And from the gate the Pilgrim turn'd. 

To seek such covert as the field 

Or heath-besprinkled copse might yield. 

Or lofty wood, shower-proof. 

* 

He paced along ; and, pensively 
Halting beneath a shady tree. 

Whose moss-grown root might serve for couch or seat, 

K 3 



134- THE PILGRIM'S DREAM. 

Fixed on a Star his upward eye ; 

Then, from the tenant of the sky 

He turned, and watch'd with kindred look, 

A glow-worm, in a dusky nook. 

Apparent at his feet. 

The murmur of a neighbouring stream 

Induced a soft and slumbVous dream, 

A pregnant dream within whose shadowy bounds 

He recognised the earth-born Star,' 

And That whose radiance gleam'd from far ; 

And (strange to witness !) from the frame 

Of the ethereal Orb there came 

Intelligible sounds. 

Much did it taunt the humbler Light 
That now, when day was fled, and night 
Hushed the dark earth — fast closing weary eyes, 
A very Reptile could presume 
To show her taper in tlie gloom, 



THE PILGRIM'S DREAM. 135 

As if in rivalship with One 
Who sate a Ruler on his throne 
Erected in the skies. 

<' Exalted Star !" the Worm replied, 
^^ Abate this unbecoming pride, 
Or with a less uneasy lustre shine ; 
Thou shrink'st as momently thy rays 
Are mastered by the breathing haze ; 
While neither mist, nor thickest cloud 
That shapes in heaven its murky shroud, 
Hath power to injure mine. 

Yet not for this do I aspire 

To match the spark of local fire, 

That at my will burns on the dewy lawn, 

With thy acknowledged glories ; — No ! 

But it behoves that thou shouldst know 

WHiat favours do attend me here. 

Till, like thyself, I disappear 

Before the purple dawn." 

K 4 



136 THE PILGRIM'S DREAM. 

When this in modest guise was said, 
Across the welkin seem'd to spread 
A boding sound — for aught but sleep unfit ! 
Hills quaked — the rivers backward ran — 
That Star, so proud of late, looked wan; 
And reeled with visionary stir 
In the blue depth, like Lucifer 
Cast headlong to the pit ! 

Fire raged, — and when the spangled floor 

Of ancient ether was no more, 

New heavens succeeded, by the dream brought forth : 

And all the happy souls that rode 

Transfigured through that fresh abode. 

Had heretofore, in humble trust. 

Shone meekly mid their native dust, 

The Glow-worms of the earth ! 

This knowledge, from an AngeFs voice 
Proceeding, made the heart rejoice 
Of Him who slept upon the open lea : 



THE PILGRIM'S DREAM. 137 

Waking at morn he murmur'd not; 
And, till life's journey closed, the spot 
Was to the Pilgrim's soul endeared, 
Where by that dream he had been cheered 
Beneath the shady tree. 



ARTEGAL AND ELIDURE. 

(see the chronicle of GEOFFRY of MONMOUTH, AND 

Milton's history of England.) 



Where be the Temples which, in Britain's Isle, 
For his paternal Gods, the Trojan raised ? 
Gone like a morning dream, or like a pile 
Of clouds — that in cerulean ether blazed ! 
Ere Julius landed on her white-clifF'd shore, 

They sank, delivered o'er 
To fatal dissolution ; and, I ween. 
No vestige then was left that such had ever been. 



ARTEGAL AND ELIDURE, 139 

"Nathless, a British record (long concealed 
In old Armorica, whose secret springs 
No Gothic conqueror ever drank) revealed 
The wond'roiis current of forgotten things ; 
How Brutus came, by oracles impell'dj 

An Albion's giants quell'd, — 
A brood whom no civility could melt, 
Who never tasted grace, and goodness ne'er had felt." 



(( 



By brave Corineus aided, he subdued 
And rooted out the intolerable kind ; x 

And this too-long-polluted land imbued 
With goodly arts and usages refined ; 
Whence golden harvests, cities, warlike towers, 

And Pleasure's sumptuous bowers ; 
Whence all the fix'd delights of house and home, 
Friendships thatwill not break, and love that cannot roam. 



140 ARTEGAL AND ELIDURE. 

O, happy Britain ! region all too fair 
For self-delighting fancy to endure 
That silence only should inhabit there, 
Wild beasts, or uncouth savages impure ! 
But, intermingled with the generous seed, 

Grew many a poisonous weed ; 
Thus fares it still with all that takes its birth 
From human care, or grows upon the breast of earth. 



Hence, and how soon ! that war of vengeance wag'd 

By Guendolen against her faithless lord ; 

Till she, in jealous fiiry unassuag'd. 

Had slain his Paramour with ruthless sword : 

Then, into Severn hideously defiled. 

She flung her blameless child, 
Sabrina, — vowing that the stream should bear , 
That name through every age, her hatred to declare. 



ARTEGAL AND ELIDURE. 14.1 

So speaks the Chronicle, and tells of Lear 

By his ungrateful daughters turn'd adrift. 

Ye lightnings, hear his voice ! — they cannot hear 

Nor can the winds restore his simple gift. 

But one there is. a child of nature meek, 

Who comes her sire to seek ; 
And he, recovering sense, upon her breast 
Leans smilingly, and sinks into a perfect rest. 



There too we read of Spenser's fairy themes. 
And those that Milton lov'd in youthful years ; 
The sage enchanter Merlin's subtle schemes ; 
The feats of Arthur and his knightly peers ; 
Of Arthur, — who, to upper light restored 

With that terrific sword 
Which yet he wields in subterranean war, 
Shall lift his country's fame above the polar star ! 



142 ARTEGAL AND ELIDURE. 

What wonder, then, if in such ample field 
Of old tradition, one particular flower 
Doth seemingly in vain its fragrance yield, 
And bloom unnoticed even to this late hour. 
Now, gentle Muses, your assistance grant, 

While I this flower transplant 
Into a garden stor'd with Poesy ; 

Where flowers and herbs unite, and haply some weeds be. 
That, wanting not wild grace, are from all mischief free ! 



ARTEGAL AND ELIDURE. 143 



A King more worthy of respect and love 
Than wise Gorbonian, ruled not in his day ; 
And grateful Britain prospered far above 
All neighbouring countries through his righteous sway; 
He poured rewards and honours on the good ; 

The Oppressor he withstood ; 
And, while he served the gods with reverence due, 
Fields smiled, and temples rose, and towns and cities grew. 



He died, whom Artegal succeeds — his son ; 

But how unworthy of such sire was he ! 

A hopeful reign, auspiciously begun, 

Was darkened soon by foul iniquity. 

From crime to crime he mounted, till at length 

The nobles leagued their strength 
With a vexed people, and the tyrant chased ; 
And, on the vacant throne, his worthier brother placed. 



IH ARTEGAL AND ELIDURE. 

From realm to realm the humbled Exile went, 
Suppliant for aid his kingdom to regain ; 
In many a court, and many a warrior's tent, 
He urged his persevering suit in vain. 
Him, in whose wretched heart ambition failed, 

Dire poverty assailed ; 
And, tired with slights which he no more could brook, 
Towards his native soil he cast a longing look. 



Fair blew the wish'd-for wind — the voyage sped ; 

He landed ; and, by many dangers scared, 

" Poorly provided, poorly followed," 

To Calaterium's forest he repaired. 

How changed from him who, born to highest place, 

Had swayed the royal mace, 
Flattered and feared, despised yet deified. 
In Troynovant, his seat by silver Thames's side ! 



ARTEGAL AND ELIDURE. 145 

From that wild region where the crownless king 
Lay in concealment with his scanty train, 
Supporting life by water from the spring, 
And such chance food as outlaws can obtain, 
Unto the few whom he esteems his friends 

A messenger he sends ; 
And from their secret loyalty requires 
Shelter and daily bread, — the amount of his desires. 



While he the issue waits, at early morn 
Wandering by stealth abroad, he chanced to hear 
A startling outcry made by hound and horn, 
From which the tusky boar hath fled in fear ; 
And, scouring tow'rds him o'er the grassy plain, 

Behold the hunter train ! 
He bids his little company advance 
With seeming unconcern and steady countenance. 



146 ARTEGAL AND ELIDURE. 

The royal Elidure, who leads the chaccy 
Hath checked his foaming courser — Can it be ! 
Methinks that I should recognise that face, 
Though much disguised by long adversity ! 
He gazed, rejoicing, and again he gazed, 

Confounded and amazed — 
" It is the king, my brother !" and, by sound 
Of his own voice confirmed, he leaps upon the ground. 



Long, strict, and tender, was the embrace he gave, 
Feebly returned by daunted Artegal; 
Whose natural affection doubts enslave, 
And apprehensions dark and criminal. 
Loth to restrain the moving interview, 

The attendant lords withdrew ; 
And, while they stood upon the plain apart, 
Thus Elidure, by words, reUeved his struggling heart. 



ARTEGAL AND ELIDURE. 147 



a 



By heavenly Powers conducted, we have met ; 
— O Brother ! to my knowledge lost so long, 
But neither lost to love, nor to regret, 
Nor to my wishes lost, forgive the wrong, 
(Such it may seem) if I thy crown have borne. 

Thy royal mantle worn : 
I was their natural guardian ; and 'tis just 
That now I should restore what hath been held in trust' 



Awhile the astonish'd Artegal stood mute. 
Then thus exclaimed — " To me of titles shorn 
And stripped of power ! me, feeble, destitute, 
To me a kingdom ! — spare the bitter scorn ! 
If justice ruled the breast of foreign kings 

Then, on the wide-spread wings 
Of war, had I returned to claim my right ; 
This will I here avow, not dreading thy despite." 



L 2 



148 ARTEGAL AND ELIDURE. 

" I do not blame thee," Elidiire replied, 
" But, if my looks did with my words agree, 
I should at once be trusted, not defied, 
And thou from all disquietude be free. 
May spotless Dian, Goddess of the chace, 

Who to this blessed place 
At this blest moment led me, if I speak 
With insincere intent, on me her vengeance wreak ! 



Were this^ same spear, which in my hand I grasp. 
The British sceptre, here would I to thee 
The sjrmbol yield ; and would undo this clasp, 
If it confined the robe of sovereignty. 
Odious to me the pomp of regal court, 

And joyless sylvan sport. 
While thou art roving wretched and forlorn, 
Thy couch the dewy earth, thy roof the forest thorn !" 



ARTEGAL AND ELIDURE. 149 

Then Artegal thus spake — "I only sought, 
Within this realm a place of safe retreat; 
Beware of rousing an ambitious thought ; 
Beware of kindling hopes, for me unmeet ! 
Thou art reputed wise, but in my mind 

Art pitiably blind ; 
Full soon this generous purpose thou may's t rue. 
When that which has been done no wishes can undo. 



Who, when a crown is fixed upon his head. 
Would balance claim with claim, and right with right ? 
But thou — I know not how inspired, how led — 
Wouldst change the course of things in all men's sight • 
And this for one who cannot imitate 

Thy virtue, who may hate : 
For, if by such strange sacrifice restored, 
He reign, thou still must be his king, and sovereign lord. 



L 3 



150 ARTEGAL AND ELIDURE. 

Lifted in magnanimity above 
Aught that my feeble nature could perform, 
Or even conceive ; surpassing me in love 
Far as in power the eagle doth the worm ; 
I, Brother ! only should be king in name, 

And govern to my shame ; 
A shadow in a hated land while all 
Of glad or willing service to thy share would fall." 



« Believe it not," said Elidure; "respect 
Awaits on virtuous life, and ever most 
Attends on goodness with dominion decked, 
Which stands the universal empire's boast; 
This can thy own experience testify : 

Nor shall thy foes deny 
That, in the gracious opening of thy reign. 
Our Father's spirit seemed in thee to breathe again. 



ARTEGAL AND ELIDURE, 151 

And what if o'er that bright unbosoming 
Clouds of disgrace and envious fortune past ! 
Have we not seen the glories of the spring 
By veil of noontide darkness overcast ? 
The frith that glittered like a warrior's shield, 

The sky, the gay green field, 
Are vanished ; — gladness ceases in the groves. 
And trepidation strikes the blackened mountain coves. 



But is that gloom dissolved ? how passing clear 
Seems the wide world — far brighter than before ! 
Even so thy latent worth will re-appear. 
Gladdening the people's heart from shore to shore, 
For youthful faults ripe virtues shall atone ; 

Re-seated on thy throne, 
Proof shalt thou furnish that misfortune, pain. 
And sorrow, have confirmed thy native right to reign. 



L 4 



152 ARTEGAL AND ELIDURE. 

But, not to overlook what thou may'st know, 
Thy enemies are neither weak nor few, 
And circumspect must be our course and slow, 
Or from my purpose ruin may ensue. 
Dismiss thy followers ; — let them calmly wait 

Such change in thy estate 
As I already have in thought devised ; 
And which, with caution due, may soon be realised.* 



The Story tells what courses were pursued. 
Until King Elidure, with full consent 
Of all his Peers, before the multitude, 
Rose, — and, to consummate this just intent. 
Did place upon his Brother's head the Crown 

Relinquished by his own ; 
Then to his people cried, " Receive your Lord 
Gorbonian's first-born Son, your rightful King restored !" 



ARTEGAL AND ELIDURE. 153 

The People answer'd with a loud acclaim : 
Yet more ; — heart-smitten by the heroic deed, 
The reinstated Artegal became 
Earth's noblest penitent ; from bondage freed 
Of vice, — of vice unable to subvert 

Or shake his high desert. 
Long did he reign ; and, when he died, the tear 
Of universal grief bedewed his honoured bier. 



Thus was a Brother by a Brother saved ; 
With whom a Crown (temptation that hath set 
Discord in hearts of men till they have braved 
Their nearest kin with deadly purpose met) 
'Gainst duty weighed and faithful love, did seem 

A thing of no esteem ; 
And, from this triumph of affection pure. 
He bore the lasting name of " pious Elidure !" 



A FACT, AND AN IMAGINATION; 

OR, 

CANUTE AND ALFRED. 



The Danish Conqueror, on his royal chair 

Mustering a face of haughtiest sovereignty, 

To aid a covert purpose, cried — " O ye 

Approaching waters of the deep, that share 

With this green isle my fortunes, come not where 

Your Master's throne is set !" — Absurd decree ! 

A mandate, uttered to the foaming sea. 

Is to its motions less than wanton air. 

— Then Canute, rising from the invaded Throne, 

Said to his servile courtiers, " Poor the reach. 

The undisguised extent, of mortal sway ! 

He only is a king, and he alone 

Deserves the name, (this truth the billows preach) 

Whose everlasting laws, sea, earth, and heaven obey.' 



A FACT, AND AN IMAGINATION. 155 

This just reproof the prosperous Dane 

Drew, from the impulse of the Main, 

For some whose rugged northern mouths would strain 

At oriental flattery ; 

And Canute (truth more worthy to be known) 

From that time forth did for his brows disown 

The ostentatious symbol of a Crown ; 

Esteeming earthly royalty* 

Contemptible and vain. 

Now hear what one of elder days, 
Rich theme of England's fondest praise, , 
Her darling Alfred, might have spoken ; 
To cheer the remnant of his host 
When he w^s driven from coast to coast. 
Distressed and harassed, but with mind unbroken ; 
*^ My faithful Followers, lo ! the tide is spent ; 
That rose, and steadily advanced to fill 
The shores and channels, working Nature's will 
Among the mazy streams that backward went, 



156 A FACT, AND AN IMAGINATION. 

And in the sluggish pools where ships are pent. 

And now, its task performed, the Flood stands still 

At the green base of many an inland hill, 

In placid beauty and sublime content ! 

Such the repose that Sage and Hero find ; 

Such measured rest the sedulous and good 

Of humbler name ; whose souls do, like the flood 

Of Ocean, press right on ; or gently wind, 

Neither to be diverted nor withstood, 

Until they reach the bounds by Heaven assigned." 



TO 



Those silver clouds collected round the sun 

His mid-day warmth abate not, seeming less 

To overshade than multiply his beams 

By soft reflection — grateful to the sky, 

To rocks, fields, woods. Nor doth our human sense 

Ask, for its pleasure, screen or canopy 

More ample than that time-dismantled Oak 

Spreads o'er this tuft of heath : which now, attired 

In the whole fulness of its bloom, affords 

As beautiful a couch as e'er on earth 

Was fashioned ; whether by the hand of art 

That Eastern Sultan, amid flowers enwrought 

On silken tissue, might diffuse his limbs 

In languor ; or, by Nature, for repose 

Of panting Wood-nymph weary of the chace. 

O Lady ! fairer in thy Poet's sight 

Than fairest spiritual Creature of the groves, 

Approach — and, thus invited, crown with rest 



158 

The noon-tide hour : — though truly some there are 

Whose footsteps superstitiously avoid 

This venerable Tree ; for, when the wind 

Blows keenly, it sends forth a creaking sound, 

Above the general roar of woods and crags , 

Distinctly heard from far — a doleful note 

As if (so Grecian shepherds would have deem'd) 

The Hamadryad, pent within, bewailed 

Some bitter wrong. Nor is it unbelieved, 

By ruder fancy, that a troubled Ghost 

Haunts this old Trunk ; lamenting deeds of which 

The flowery ground is conscious. But no wind 

Sweeps now along this elevated ridge ; 

Not even a zephyr stirs ; — the obnoxious Tree 

Is mute, — and, in his silence, would look down 

On thy reclining form with more delight 

Than his Coevals in the sheltered vale 

Seem to participate, the whilst they view 

Their own far-stretching arms and leafy heads 

Vividly pictured in some glassy pool. 

That, for a brief space, checks the hurrying stream ! 



SONNET. 



The Stars are Mansions built by Nature's hand ; 

And, haply, there the spirits of the blest 

Live, clothed in radiance, their immortal vest ; 

Huge Ocean frames, within his yellow strand, 

A Habitation marvellously planned, - 

For life to occupy in love and rest ; 

All that we see — is dome, or vault, or nest, 

Or fort, erected at her sage command. 

Is this a vernal thought ? Even so, the Spring 

Gave it while cares were weighing on my heart, 

Mid song of birds, and insects murmuring ; 

And while the youthful year's prolific art — 

Of bud, leaf, blade, and flower — was fashioning 

Abodes, where self-disturbance hath no part. 



SONNET, 

ON THE DETRACTION WHICH FOLLOWED THE PUBLICATION 
OF A CERTAIN POEM. 

See Milton s Sonnet^ beginning 
" A Book was writ of late called ' Tetrachordon.' " 

ii 

A Book came forth of late called, " Peter Bell ;" 

Not negligent the style ; — the matter ? — good 

As aught that song records of Robin Hood ; 

Or Roy, renowned through many a Scottish dell ; 

But some (who brook these hacknied themes full well, 

Nor heat, at Tam o* Shanter's name, their blood) 

Wax'd wrath, and with foul claws, a harpy brood — 

On Bard and Hero clamorously fell. 

Heed not, wild Rover once through heath and glen 

Who mad'st at length the better life thy choice, 

Heed not such onset ! nay, if praise of men 

To thee appear not an unmeaning voice. 

Lift up that grey-haired forehead, and rejoice 

In the just tribute of thy Poet's pen ! 



SONNET, 

ON SEEING A TUFT OF SNOWDROPS IN A STORM. 



When haughty expectations prostrate lie. 

And grandeur crouches like a guilty thing, 

Oft shall the lowly weak, till nature bring 

Mature release, in fair society 

Survive, and Fortune's utmost anger try ; 

Like these frail snow-drops that together cling. 

And nod their helmets smitten by the wing 

Of many a furious whirlblast sweeping by. 

Observe the faithful flowers ! if small to great 

May lead the thoughts, thus struggling used to stand 

The Emathian phalanx, nobly obstinate ; 

And so the bright immortal Theban band, 

AVhom onset, fiercely urged at Jove's command, 

Might overwhelm, but could not separate ! 

M 



. TO . 

WITH A SELECTION FROM THE POEMS OF ANNE, COUNTESS 
OF WINCHELSEA; AND EXTRACTS OF SIMILAR CHARACTER 
FROM OTHER WRITERS ; THE WHOLE TRANSCRIBED BY A 
FEMALE FRIEND. 



Lady ! I rifled a Parnassian Cave 
(But seldom trod) of mildly-gleaming ore ; 
And cull'd, from sundry beds, a lucid store 
Of genuine crystals, pure as those that pave 
The azure brooks where Dian joys to lave 
Her spotless limbs ; and ventured to explore 
Dim shades — for reliques, upon Lethe's shore. 
Cast up at random by the sullen wave. 
To female hands the treasures were resign'd ; 
And lo this work ! — a grotto bright and clear 
From stain or taint ; in which thy blameless mind 
May feed on thoughts though pensive not austere; 
Or if thy deeper spirit be inclin'd 
To holy musing it may enter here. 



ON THE 



DEATH OF HIS LATE MAJESTY. 



Ward of the Law ! — dread Shadow of a King ! 
Whose Realm had dwindled to one stately room ; 
Whose universe was gloom immers'd in gloom, 
Darkness as thick as Life o'er Life could fling, 
Yet haply cheered with some faint glimmering 
Of Faith and Hope ; if thou by nature's doom 
Gently hast sunk into the quiet tomb. 
Why should we bend in grief, to sorrow cling, 
When thankfulness were best ? — Fresh-flowing tears, 
Or, where tears flow not, sigh succeeding sigh, 
Yield to such after-thought the sole reply 
Which justly it can claim. The Nation hears 
In this deep knell — silent for threescore years, 
An unexampled voice of awful memory ! 

M 2 



INSCRIPTIONS, 

SUPPOSED TO BE FOUND IN, AND NEAR, A HERMIT's CELL. 



I. 

Hast thou seen, with train incessant, 
Bubbles gliding under ice, 
Bodied forth and evanescent. 
No one knows by what device ? 

Such are thoughts ! — a wind-swept meadow 
Mimicking a troubled sea — 
Such is life ; — and death a shadow 
From the rock eternity ! 

* # * * # # # J 



INSCRIPTIONS. 165 



II. 



INSCRIBED UPON A ROCK. 



Pause, Traveller ! whosoe'er thou be 
Whom chance may lead to this retreat, 
Where silence yields reluctantly * 
Even to the fleecy straggler's bleat ; 

Give voice to what my hand shall trace. 
And fear not lest an idle sound 
Of words unsuited to the place, 
Disturb its solitude profound. 

I saw this Rock, while vernal air 
Blew softly o'er the russet heath, 
Uphold a Monument as fair 
As Church or Abbey furnish eth. 

M 3 



166 INSCRIPTIONS. 

Unsullied did it meet the day. 
Like marble white, like ether pure ; 
As if beneath some hero lay, * 

Honoured with costliest sepulture. 

My fancy kindled as I gazed ; 
And, ever as the sun shone forth, 
The flatter'd structure glistened, blazed, 
And seemed the proudest thing on earth. 

But Frost had reared the gorgeous Pile 
Unsound as those which fortune builds ; 
To undermine with secret guile, 
Sapp'd by the very beam that gilds. 

And, while 1 gazed, with sudden shock 
Fell the whole Fabric to the ground ; 
And naked left this dripping Rock, 
With shapeless ruin spread around ! 



INSCRIPTIONS* 167 



III. 



Hopes what are they? — Beads of morning 

Strung on slender blades of grass ; 

Or a spider's web adorning 

In a strait and treacherous pass. 

What are fears but voices airy ? 
Whispering harm where harm is not, 
And deluding the unwary 
Till the fatal bolt is shot ! 

What is glory ? — in the socket 
See how dying Tapers fare ! 
What is pride? — a whizzing rocket 
That would emulate a star. 

M 4 



168 INSCRIPTIONS. 

What is friendship ? — do not trust her. 
Nor the vows which she has made ; 
Diamonds dart their brightest lustre 
From a palsy-shaken head. 

What is truth ? — a staff rejected ; 
Duty ? — an unwelcome clog ; 
Joy ? — a dazzling moon reflected 
In a swamp or watery bog ; 

Bright, as if through ether steering, 
To the Traveller's eye it shone : 
He hath hailed it re-appearing — 
And as quickly it is gone ; 

Gone, as if for ever hidden, 
Or misshapen to the sight ; 
And by sullen weeds forbidden 
To resume its native light. 



INSCRIPTIONS. 169 



What is youth ? — a dancing billow, 
Winds behind, and rocks before ! 
Age ? — a drooping, tottering willow 
On a flat and lazy shore. 

What is peace ? — when pain is over. 
And love ceases to rebel, 
Let the last faint sigh discover 
That precedes the passing knell ! 



* 



170 INSCRIPTIONS. 



IV. 

NEAR THE SPRING OF THE HERMITAGE. 

Troubled long with warring notions. 
Long impatient of thy rod, 
I resign my soul's emotions 
Unto Thee, mysterious God ! 

What avails the kindly shelter 
Yielded by this craggy rent, 
If my spirit toss and welter 
On the waves of discontent ? 

Parching Summer hath no warrant 
To consume this crystal well ; 
Rains, that make each rill a torrent, 
Neither sully it nor swell. 



INSCRIPTIONS. 171 



Thus dishonouring not her station, 
Would my Life present to Thee, 
Gracious God, the pure oblatioil 
Of divine Tranquillity ! 



V. 

Not seldom, clad in radiant vest. 
Deceitfully goes forth the Morn ; 
Not seldom Evening in the west 
Sinks smilingly forsworn. 



The smoothest seas will sometimes prove, 
To the confiding Bark, untrue ; 
And, if she trust the stars above. 
They can be treacherous too. 



# 



M 6 



172 INSCRIPTIONS. 

The umbrageous Oak, in pomp outspread. 
Full oft, when storms the welkin rend, 
Draws lightning down upon the head 
It promis'd to defend. 

But Thou art true, incarnate Lord ! 
Who didst vouchsafe for man to die ; 
Thy smile is sure, thy plighted word 
No change can falsify ! 



I bent before thy gracious throne, 
And asked for peace with suppliant knee ; 
And peace was given, — nor peace alone. 
But faith, sand hope, and extacy I 



^Jihi 



/^ ii^ <Mri^^ 



THE PRIORESS'S TALE, 



(from CHAUCER.) 



In the follomng Piece I have allowed myself no farther 
deviations from the original than were necessary for 
the fuent readings and instant understandings of the 
Author : so much however is the language altered since 
Chau£er's timcy especially in pronunciation^ that much 
was to he removed^ and its place supplied with as little 
incongruity as possible. The ancient accent has been 
retained in a few conjunctions^ such as also and alway, 
from a conviction that such sprinklings of antiquity 
would be admitted^ by persons of taste, to have a grace- 
ful accordance with the subject* 



THE PRIORESS'S TALE, 



« Call up him who left half told 
The story of Cambuscan bold." 



O Lord, our Lord ! how wonderously (quoth she) 
Thy name in this large world is spread abroad ! 
For not alone by men of dignity 
Thy worship is performed and precious laud ; 
But by the mouths of children, gracious God ! 
Thy goodness is set forth, they when they lie 
Upon the breast thy name do glorify. 

Wherefore in praise, the worthiest that I may, 

Jesu ! of thee, and the white Lily-flower 

Which did thee bear, and is a maid for aye, 

To tell a story I will use my power ; 

Not that I may increase her honour's dower, 

For she herself is honour, and the root 

Of goodness, next her Son our soul's best boot. 



176 THE PRIORESS'S TALE. 

O Mother Maid ! O Maid and Mother free ! 
O bush unburnt ! burning in Moses' sight ! 
That down didst ravish from the Deity, 
Through humbleness, the spirit that did alight 
Upon thy heart, whence, through that glory's might. 
Conceived was the Father's sapience, 
Help me to tell it in thy reverence ! 

Lady, thy goodness, thy magnificence, 

Thy virtue, and thy great humility. 

Surpass all science and all utterance ; 

For sometimes, Lady ! ere men pray to thee 

Thou go'st before in thy benignity, 

The light to us vouchsafing of thy prayer, 

To be our guide unto thy Son so dear. 

My knowledge is so weak, O blissful Queen ! 
To tell abroad thy mighty worthiness, 
That I the weight of it may not sustain ; 
But as a child of twelvemonths old or less, 
That laboureth his language to express. 
Even so fare I ; and therefore, I thee pray. 
Guide thou my song which I of thee shall say. 



THE PRIORESS'S TALE. 177 

There was in Asia, in a mighty town, 

'Mong Christian folk, a street where Jews might be ; 

Assigned to them and given them for their own 

By a great Lord, for gain and usury, 

Hateful to Christ and to his company ; 

And through this street who list might ride and wend ; 

Free was it, and unbarr'd at either end. 

A little school of Christian people stood 
Down at the farther end, in which there were 
A nest of children come of Christian blood, 
That learned in that school from year to year 
Such sort of doctrine as men used there, 
That is to say, to sing and read also 
As little children in their childhood do. 

Among these children was a widow's son, 
A little scholar, scarcely seven years old, 
Who day by day unto this school hath gone. 
And eke, when he the image did behold 
Of Jesu's Mother, as he had been told. 
This Child was wont to kneel adown and say 
Ave Marie, as he goeth by the way. 

N 



178 THE PRIORESS'S TALE. 

This Widow thus her Httle Son hath taught 
Our bhssful Lady, Jesu's Mother dear, 
To worship aye, iind he forgat it not. 
For simple infant hath a ready ear. 
Sweet is the holiness of youth : and hence, 
Calling to mind this matter when I may, 
Saint Nicholas in my presence standeth aye, 
For he so young to Christ did reverence. 

This little Child, while in the school he sate 
His primer conning with an earnest cheer, 
The whilst the rest their anthem-book repeat 
The Alma Redemptoris did he hear ; 
And as he durst he drew him near and near, 
And hearkened to the words and to the note, 
'Till the first verse he learn'd it all by rote. 

This Latin knew he nothing what it said 
For he too tender was of age to know ; 
But to his comrade he repaired, and prayed 
That he the meaning of this song would show, 
And unto him declare why men sing so ; 
This, oftentimes, that he might be at ease, 
This child did him beseech, on his bare knees. 



THE PRIORESS'S TALE. 179 

His Schoolfellow, who elder was than he, 

Answered him thus ; — " This song, I have heard say, 

Was fashioned for our blissful Lady free ; 

Her to salute, and also her to pray 

To be our help upon our dying day. 

If there is more in this I know it not ; 

The song I learn, — small grammar I have got. S rv^ ^'JO -^ -^ 

" And is this song fashioned in reverence 
Of Jesu's Mother ?" said this Innocent, 
" Now, certes, I will use my diligence 
To con it all ere Christmas-tide be spent; 
Although I for my Primer shall be shent, 
And shall be beaten three times in an hour, 
Our Lady I will praise with all my power." 

His Schoolfellow, whom he had so besought, 
As they went homeward taught him privily ; 
And then he sang it well and fearlessly. 
From word to word according to the note : 
Twice in a day it passed through his throat ; 
Homeward and schoolward whensoever he went, , 
On Jesu's Mother fixed was his intent. 

N 2 



180 THE PRIORESS'S TALE, 

Through all the Jewry (this before said I,) 
This little child, as he came to and fro, 
Full merrily then would he sing and cry, 
O Alma Redemptions ! high and low : 
The sweetness of Christ's Mother pierced so 
His heart, that her to praise, to her to pray, 
He cannot stop his singing by the way. 

The Serpent, Satan, our first foe, that hath 

His wasp's nest in Jew's heart, upswell'd — " O woe, 

O Hebrew people !" said he in his wrath, 

" Is it an honest thing ? Shall this be so ? 

That such a Boy where'er he list shall go 

In your despite, and sing his hymns and saws, 

Which is against the reverence of our laws !" 

From that day forward have the Jews conspired 
Out of the world this Innocent to chace ; 
And to this end a Homicide they hired. 
That in an Alley had a privy place. 
And, as the Child 'gan to the School to pace, 
This cruel Jew him seized, and held him fast 
And cut his throat, and in a pit him cast. 



THE PRIORESS'S TALE. 181 

I say that him into a pit they threw, 

A loathsome pit whence noisome scents exhale; 

O cursed folk ! away ye Herod s new ! 

What may your ill intentions you avail ? 

Murder will out ; certes it will not fail ; 

Know, that the honour of high God may spread, 

The blood cries out on your accursed deed. 

O Martyr 'stablished in virginity ! 

Now may*st thou sing for aye before the throne, 

Following the Lamb celestial," quoth she, 

" Of which the great Evangelist, Saint John, 

In Patmos wrote, who saith of them that go 

Before the Lamb singing continually. 

That never fleshly woman they did know. 

Now this poor widow waiteth all that night 
After her little Child, and he came not ; 
For which, by earliest glimpse of morning light, 
With face all pale with dread and busy thought 
She at the School and elsewhere him hath sought, 
Until thus far she learned, that he had been 
In the Jews' street, and there he last was seen. 

N 3 



182 THE PRIORESS'S TALE, 

With Mother's pity in her breast enclosed 
She goeth, as she were half out of her mind. 
To every place wherein she hath supposed 
By likelihood her little Son to find ; 
And ever on Christ's Mother meek and kind 
She cried, till to the Jewry she was brought. 
And him among the accursed Jews she sought. 

She asketh, and she piteously doth pray 
To every Jew that dwelleth in that place 
To tell her if her Child had pass'd that way ; 
They all said Nay ; but Jesu of his grace 
Gave to her thought, that in a little space 
She for her Son in that same spot did cry 
Where he was cast into a pit hard by. 

O thou great God that dost perform thy laud 

By mouths of Innocents, lo ! here thy might ; 

This gem of chastity, this emerald, 

And eke of martyrdom this ruby bright. 

There, where with mangled throat he lay upright. 

The Alma Redemptoris 'gan to sing 

So loud that with his voice the place did ring. 



THE PRIORESS'S TALE. 183 

The Christian folk that through the Jewry went 

Come to the spot in wonder at the thing ; 

And hastily they for the Provost sent ; 

Immediately he came not tarrying, 

And praiseth Christ that is our heavenly King, 

And eke his Mother, honour of Mankind : 

Which done, he bade that they the Jews should bind. 

This Child with piteous lamentation then 
Was taken up, singing his song alway ; 
And with procession great and pomp of men 
To the next Abbey him they bare away ; 
His Mother swooning by the Bier lay : 
And scarcely could the people that were near 
Remove this second Rachel from the Bier. 

Torment and shameful death to every one 
This Provost doth for those bad Jews prepare 
That of this murder wist, and that anon : 
Such wickedness his judgments cannot spare ; 
Who will do evil, evil shall he bear ; 
Them therefore with wild horses did he draw, 
And after that he hung them by the law. 

N 4 



184 THE PRIORESS'S TALE. 

Upon his Bier this Innocent doth He 

Before the Altar while the Mass doth last : 

The Abbot with his Convent's company 

Then sped themselves to bury him full fast ; 

And, when they holy water on him cast. 

Yet spake this Child when sprinkled was the water. 

And sang, O Alma Redemptoris Mater ! 






This Abbot who had been a holy ifian 

And was, as all Monks are, or ought to be, 

In supplication to the Child began 

Thus saying, " O dear Child ! I summon thee 

In virtue of the holy Trinity 

Tell me the cause why thou dost sing this hymn, 

Since that thy throat is cut, as it doth seem." 

" My throat is cut unto the bone, I trow," 
Said this young Child, " and by the law of kind 
I should have died, yea many hours ago ; 
But Jesus Christ, as in the books ye find, 
Will that his glory last, and be in mind ; 
And, for the worship of his Mother dear. 
Yet may I sing, O Alma ! loud and clear. 



THE PRIORESS'S TALE. 185 

This well of mercy Jesu's Mother sweet 
After my knowledge I have loved alway, 
And in the hour when I my death did meet 
To me she came, and thus to me did say, 
" Thou in thy dying sing this holy lay," 
As ye have heard ; and soon as I had sung 
Methought she laid a grain upon my tongue. 

Wherefore I sing, nor can from song refrain. 

In honour of that blissful Maiden free, 

'Till from my tongue off-taken is the grain ; 

And after that thus said she unto me, 

" My little Child, then will I come for thee 

Soon as the grain from off thy tongue they take, 

Be not dismay' d, I will not thee forsake !" 

This holy Monk, this Abbot — him mean I, 
Touched then his tongue, and took away the grain ; 
And he gave up the ghost full peacefully ; 
And, when the Abbot had this wonder seen. 
His salt tears trickled down like showers of rain. 
And on his face he dropped upon the ground. 
And still he lay as if he had been bound. 



186 THE PRIORESS'S TALE. 

Eke the whole Convent on the pavement lay, 
Weeping and praising Jesu's Mother dear ; 
And after that they rose, and took their way 
And lifted up this Martyr from the Bier, 
And in a tomb of precious marble clear 
Enclos'd his uncorrupted body sweet. — 
Where'er he be, God grant us him to meet ! 

* 
Young Hew of Lincoln ! in like sort laid low 

By cursed Jews — thing well and widely known. 

For not long since was dealt the cruel blow, 

Pray also thou for us, while here we tarry 

Weak sinful folk, that God, with pitying eye. 

In mercy would his mercy multiply 

On us, for reverence of his Mother Mary ! 



SEPTEMBER, 
1819. 



The sylvan slopes with corn-clad fields 
Are hung, as if with golden shields. 
Bright trophies of the sun ! 
Like a fair sister of the sky. 
Unruffled doth the blue Lake lie, 
The Mountains looking on. 

And, sooth to say, yon vocal Grove 
Albeit uninspired by love, 
By love untaught to ring. 
May well afford to mortal ear 
An impulse more profoundly dear 
Than music of the Spring. 



188 SEPTEMBER, 1819. 

For that from turbulence and heat 
Proceeds, from some uneasy seat 
In Nature's struggling frame, 
Some region of impatient life ; 
And jealousy, and quivering strife, 
Therein a portion claim. 

This, this is holy ; — while I hear 
These vespers of another year, 
This hymn of thanks and praise. 
My spirit seems to mount above 
The anxieties of human love, 
And earth's precarious days. 

But list ! — though winter storms be nigh, 
Unchecked is that soft harmony : 
There lives Who can provide 
For all his creatures ; and in Him, 
Even like the radiant Seraphim, 
These Choristers confide. 



UPON THE SAME OCCASION. 



Departing Summer hath assumed 
An aspect tenderly illumed, 
The gentlest look of Spring : 
That calls from yonder leafy shade 
Unfaded, yet prepared to fade, 
A timely caroling. 

No faint and hesitating trill, 
Such tribute as to Winter chill 
The lonely red-breast pays ! 
Clear, loud, and lively is the din. 
From social Warblers gathering in 
Their harvest of sweet lays. 



190 SEPTEMBER, 1819. 

Nor doth the example fail to cheer 
Me conscious that my leaf is sear. 
And yellow on the bough : — 
Fall, rosy garlands, from my head ! 
Ye myrtle wreaths, your fragrance shed 
Around a younger brow ! 

Yet will I temperately rejoice ; 

Wide is the range, and free the choice 

Of undiscordant themes ; 

Which, haply, kindred souls may prize 

Not less than vernal extacies. 

And passion's feverish dreams. 

For deathless powers to verse belong. 
And they like Demi-gods are strong 
On whom the Muses smile ; 
But some their function have disclaimed. 
Best pleased with what is aptliest framed 
To enervate and defile. 



SEPTEMBER, 1819. 191 

Not such the initiatory strains 

Committed to the silent plains 

In Britain's earliest dawn ; 

Trembled the groves, the stars grew pale. 

While all-too-daringly the veil 

Of Nature was withdrawn ! 

Nor, such the spirit-stirring note 
When the live chords Alcaeus smote, 
Inflamed by sense of wrong ; 
Woe ! woe to Tyrants ! from the lyre 
Broke threateningly, in sparkles dire 
Of fierce vindictive song. 

And not unhallow'd was the page 
By winged Love inscribed, to assuage 
The pangs of vain pursuit ; 
Love listening while the Lesbian Maid 
With passion's finest finger swayed 
Her own CEolian lute. 



192 SEPTEMBER, 1819. 

O ye who patiently explore 
The wreck of Herculanean lore, 
What rapture could ye seize 
Some Theban fragment, or unroll 
One precious, tender-hearted scroll 
Of pure Simonides ! 

That were, indeed, a genuine birth 
Of poesy ; a bursting forth 
Of Genius from the dust : 
What Horace boasted to behold, 
What Maro loved, shall we enfold ? 
Can haughty Time be just ! 



ODE, 



COMPOSED UPON AN EVENING OF EXTRAORDINARY SPLENDOR 

AND BEAUTY. 



I. 

Had this effulgence disappeared 
With flying haste, I might have sent 
Among the speechless clouds a look 
Of blank astonishment ; 
But 'tis endued with power to stay. 
And sanctify one closing day, 
That frail Mortality may see. 
What is ? — ah no, but what can be I 
Time was when field and watery cove 
With modulated echoes rang. 
While choirs of fervent Angels sang 
Their vespers in the grove ; 
Or, ranged like stars along some sovereign height. 
Warbled, for heaven above and earth below, 
Strains suitable to both. — Such holy rite, 
Methinks, if audibly repeated now 

o 



194 



From hill or valley, could not move 
Sublimer transport, purer love. 
Than doth this silent spectacle — the gleam - 
The shadow — and the peace supreme ! 

n. 

No sound is uttered, — but a deep 

And solemn harmony pervades 

The hollow vale from steep to steep, 

And penetrates the glades. 

Far-distant images draw nigh, 

CalPd forth by wond'rous potency 

Of beamy radiance, that imbues 

Whate'er it strikes, with gem-like hues ! 

In vision exquisitely clear. 

Herds range along the mountain side ; 

And glistening antlers are descried ; 

And gilded flocks appear. 

Thine is the tranquil hour, purpureal Eve ! 

But long as god-like wish, or hope divine, 

Informs my spirit, ne'er can I believe 

That this magnificence is wholly thine ! 



195 

— From worlds not quickened by the sun 
A portion of the gift is won ; 
An intermingling of Heaven's pomp is spread 
On ground which British shepherds treaH ! 

III. 

And, if there be whom broken ties 
Afflict, or injuries assail. 
Yon hazy ridges to their eyes, 
Present a glorious scale. 
Climbing suffused with sunny air, 
To stop — no record hath told where ! 
And tempting fancy to ascend. 
And with immortal spirits blend ! 
— Wings at my shoulder seem to play ; 
But, rooted here, I stand and gaze 
On those bright steps that heaven-ward raise 
Their practicable way. 

Come forth, ye drooping old men, look abroad 
And see to what fair countries ye are bound ! 

o 2 



196 ^ 

And if some Traveller, weary of his road, 
Hath slept since noon-tide on the grassy ground, 
Ye Genii ! to his covert speed ; 
And wake him with such gentle heed 
As may attune his soul to meet the dow'r 
Bestowed on this transcendent hour ! 

IV. 

Such hues from their celestial Urn 

Were wont to stream before my eye. 

Where'er it wandered in the morn 

Of blissful infancy. 

This glimpse of glory, why renewed ? 

Nay, rather speak with gratitude ; 

For, if a vestige of those gleams 

Survived, 'twas only in my dreams. 

Dread Power ! whom peace and calmness serve 

No less than Nature's threatening voice. 

If aught unworthy be my choice, 

From Thee if I would swerve. 



197 



O, let thy grace remind me of the hght, 
Full early lost and fruitlessly deplored ; 
Which, at this moment, on my waking sight 
Appears to shine, by miracle restored ! 
My soul, though yet confined to earth, 
Rejoices in a second birth ; 
— 'Tis past, the visionary splendour fades. 
And Night approaches with her shades. 






NOTE. 



The multiplication of mountain-ridges, described, at the 
commencement of the third stanza of this Ode, as a kind of 
Jacob's Ladder, leading to Heaven, is produced either by 
watery vapours, or sunny haze, — in the present instance by 
the latter cause. See the account of the Lakes at the end of 
this volume. The reader, who is acquainted with the Author's 
Ode, intitled, " Intimations of Immortality, &c." will re- 
cognize, the allusion to it that pervades the last stanza of the 
foregoing Poem. 



o 3 



** A LITTLE onward lend thy guiding hand 
To these dark steps, a little further on /" 

— What trick of memory to my voice hath brought, 
This mournful iteration ? For though Time, 

The Conqueror, crowns the Conquer'd, on this brow- 
Planting his favourite silver diadem, 
Nor he, nor minister of his intent 
To run before him, hath enrolled me yet. 
Though not unmenaced, among those who lean 
Upon a living staff, with borrowed sight. 

— O my Antigone, beloved child ! 

Should that day come — but hark ! the birds salute 
The cheerful dawn brightening for me the east ; 
For me, thy natural Leader, once again 
Impatient to conduct thee, not as erst 
A tottering Infant, with compliant stoop 



199 



From flower to flower supported ; but to curb 

Thy nymph-like step swift-bounding o'er the lawn, 

Along the loose rocks, or the slippery verge 

Of foaming torrents. — From thy orisons 

Come forth^ and, while the morning air is yet 

Transparent as the soul of innocent youth, 

Let me, thy happy Guide, now point thy way. 

And now precede thee, winding to and fro, 

Till we by perseverance gain the top 

Of some smooth ridge, whose brink precipitous 

Kindles intense desire for powers withheld 

From this corporeal frame ; whereon who stands, 

Is seized with strong incitement to push forth 

His arms, as swimmers use, and plunge — dread thought! 

For pastime plunge — into the " abrupt abyss," 

Where Ravens spread their plumy vans, at ease ! 

And yet more gladly thee would I conduct 
Through woods and spacious forests, — to behold 
There, how the Original of human art, 
Heaven-prompted Nature, measures and erects 
Her temples, fearless for the stately work, 

o 4f 



200 

Though waves in every breeze its high-arched roof, 

And storms the pillars rock. But we such schools 

Of reverential awe will chiefly seek 

In the still summer noon, while beams of light , 

Reposing here, and in the aisles beyond 

Traceably gliding through the dusk, recall 

To mind the living presences of nuns ; 

A gentle, pensive, white-robed sisterhood, 

"WTiose saintly radiance mitigates the gloom 

Of those terrestrial fabrics, where they serve. 

To Christ, the Sun of Righteousness, espoused. 

Re-open now thy everlasting gates, 
Thou Fane of holy writ ! Ye classic Domes, 
To these glad orbs from darksome bondage freed, 
Unfold again your portals ! Passage lies 
Through you to heights more glorious still, and shades 
More awful, where this Darling of my care. 
Advancing with me hand in hand, may learn 
Without forsaking a too earnest world, 
To calm the affections, elevate the soul, 
And consecrate her life to truth and love. 



ODE. 



THE PASS OF KIRKSTONE. 



I. 

AViTHiN the mind strong fancies work, 
A deep delight the bosom thrills, 
Oft as I pass along the fork 
Of these fraternal hills : 
Where, save the rugged road, we find 
No appanage of human kind ; 
Nor hint of man, if stone or rock 
Seem not his handy-work to mock 
By something cognizably shaped ; 
Mockery — or model — roughly hewn. 
And left as if by earthquake strewn. 
Or from the Flood escaped : — 
Altars for Druid service fit ; 
(But where no fire was ever lit 



202 

Unless the glow-worm to the skies 
Thence offer nightly sacrifice;) 
Wrinkled Egyptian monument; 
Green moss-grown tower ; or hoary tent ; 
Tents of a camp that never shall be raised ; 
On which four thousand years have gazed ! 

11. 

Ye plowshares sparkling on the slopes ! 

Ye snow-white lambs that trip 

Imprisoned mid the formal props 

Of restless ownership ! 

Ye trees that may to-morrow fall, 

To feed the insatiate Prodigal ! 

Lawns, houses, chattels, groves, and fields. 

All that the fertile valley shields ; 

Wages of folly — baits of crime, — 

Of life's uneasy game the stake, — 

Playthings that keep the eyes awake 

Of drowsy, dotard Time ,• — 



203 

O care ! O guilt !^ — O vales and plains, 

Here, mid his own unvexed domains, 

A Genius dwells, that can subdue 

At once all memory of You, — 

Most potent when mists veil the sky, 

Mists that distort and magnify ; 

While the coarse rushes, to the sweeping breeze, 

Sigh forth their ancient melodies ! 

III. 
List to those shriller notes ! — that march 
Perchance was on the blast. 
When through this Height's inverted arch 
Rome's earliest legion passed ! 
— They saw, adventurously impell'd, 
And older eyes than theirs beheld, 
This block — and yon whose Church-like frame 
Gives to the savage Pass its name. 



204 

Aspiring Road ! that lov'st to hide 

Thy daring in a vapoury bourn, 

Not seldom may the hour return 

When thou shalt be my Guide ; 

And I (as often we find cause. 

When life is at a weary pause, 

And we have panted up the hill 

Of duty with reluctant will) 

Be thankful, even though tired and faint, 

For the rich bounties of Constraint ; . 

Whence oft invigorating transports flow 

That Choice lacked courage to bestow ! 

IV. 

My soul was grateful for delight 

That wore a threatening brow ; 

A veil is lifted — can she slight 

The scene that opens now? 

Though habitation none appear. 

The greenness tells, man must be there ; 



205 



The shelter — that the perspective 

Is of the cHme in which we live ; 

Where Toil pursues his daily round ; 

Where Pity sheds sweet tears, and Love, 

In woodbine bower or birchen grove, 

Inflicts his tender wound. 

— Who comes not hither ne'er shall know 

How beautiful the world below ; 

Nor can he guess how lightly leaps 

The brook adown the rocky steeps. 

Farewell thou desolate Domain ! 

Hope, pointing to the cultur'd Plain, 

Carols like a shepherd boy ; 

And who is she ? — can that be Joy ? 

Who, with a sun-beam for her guide. 

Smoothly skims the meadows wide ; 

While Faith, from yonder opening cloud, 

To hill and vale proclaims aloud, 

" Whatever the weak may dread the wicked dare, 

Thy lot, O man, is good, thy portion fair !" 



ODE. — 1817. 



Beneath the concave of an April sky, 

When all the fields with freshest green were dight, 

Appeared, in presence of that spiritual eye 

That aids or supersedes our grosser sight, 

The form and rich habiliments of One 

Whose countenance bore resemblance to the sun, 

When it reveals, in evening majesty, 

Features half lost amid their own pure light. 

Poised in the middle region of the air 

He hung, — then floated with angelic ease, 

Softening that bright effulgence by degrees, 

Until he reached a rock, of summit bare. 

Where oft the vent'rous Heifer drinks the summer breeze. 

Upon the apex of that lofty cone 

Alighted, there the Stranger stood alone; 

Fair as a gorgeous Fabric of the East 



207 

Suddenly raised by some Enchanter's power, 
Where nothing was ; and firm as some old Tower 
Of Britain's realm, whose leafy crest 
Waves high, embellish'd by a gleaming shower ! 

II. 

Beneath the shadow of his purple wings 

Rested a golden Harp ; — he touch'd the strings ; 

And, after prelude of unearthly sound 

Poured through the echoing hills around, 

He sang, " No wintry desolations, 

" Scorching blight, or noxious dew, 

" Affect my native habitations ; 

*' Buried in glory, far beyond the scope 

*' Of man's enquiring gaze, and imaged to his hope 

" (Alas, how faintly !) in the hue 

*' Profound of night's ethereal blue ; 

** And in the aspect of each radiant orb ; — 

" Some fix'd, some wandering with no timid curb ; 

But wandering orb and fix'd, to mortal eye, 
" Blended in absolute serenity, 



cc 



208 

*< And free from semblance of decline ; — 
" So wills eternal Love and Power divine. 

III. 

" And what if his presiding breath 

" Impart a sympathetic motion 

" Unto the gates of life and death, 

" Throughout the bounds of earth and ocean ; 

" Though all that feeds on nether air, 

*' Howe'er magnificent or fair, 

" Grows but to perish, and entrust 

" Its ruins to their kindred dust ; 

*' Yet, by the Almighty's ever-during care, 

*' Her procreant vigils Nature keeps 

*' Amid the unfathomable deeps ; 

" And saves the peopled fields of earth 

*' From dread of emptiness or dearth. 

*^ Thus, in their stations, lifting tow'rd the sky 

" The foliag'd head in cloud-like majesty, 

** The shadow-casting race of Trees survive : 

" Thus, in the train of Spring, arrive 



20& 

Sweet Flowers ; — what living eye hath viewed 

Their myriads ? — endlessly renewed, 

Wherever strikes the sun's glad ray; 

Where'er the joyous waters stray ; 

Wherever sportive zephyrs bend 

Their course, or genial showers descend ! 

Rejoice, O men ! the very Angels quit 

Their mansions unsusceptible of change, 

Amid your pleasant bowers to sit. 

And through your sweet vicissitudes to range !" 



IV. 

O, nursed at happy distance from the cares 
Of a too-anxious world, mild pastoral Muse ! 
That, to the sparkling crown Urania wears, 
And to her sister Clio's laurel wreath, 
Prefer'st a garland cull'd from purple heath, 
Or blooming thicket moist with morning dews ; 
Was such bright Spectacle vouchsafed to v^e ? 
And was it granted to the simple ear 
Of thy contented Votary 
Such melody to hear ! 



210 



Him rather suits it, side by side with thee, 

Wrapped in a fit of pleasing indolence, 

While thy tired lute hangs on the hawthorn tree, 

To lie and listen, till oer-drowsed sense 

Sinks, hardly conscious of the influence, 

To the soft murmur of the vagrant Bee. 

— A slender sound ! yet hoary Time 

Doth, to the Soul exalt it with the chime 

Of all his years ; — a company 

Of ages coming, ages gone ; 

Nations from before them sweeping — 

Regions in destruction steeping ; — 

But every awful note in unison 

With that faint utterance, which tells 

Of treasure sucked from buds and bells. 

For the pure keeping of those waxen cells ; 

Where She, a statist prudent to confer 

Upon the public weal ; a warrior bold, — 

Radiant all over with unburnished gold. 



211 



And armed with living spear for mortal fight ; 

A cunning forager 
That spreads no waste ; — a social builder, one 
In whom all busy offices unite 
With all fine functions that afford delight, 
Safe through the winter storm in quiet dwells ! 

■ V. 
And is She brought within the power 
Of vision ? — o'er this tempting flower 
Hovering until the petals stay 
Her flight, and take its voice away ? 
Observe each wing — a tiny van ! — 
The structure of her laden thigh ; 
How fragile ! — yet of ancestry 
Mysteriously remote and high ; 
High as the imperial front of man, 
The roseate bloom on woman's cheek ; 
The soaring eagle's curved beak ; 
The white plumes of the floating swan ; 

P 2 



212 



Old as the tyger's paws, the lion's mane 

Ere shaken by that mood of stern disdain 

At which the desart trembles. — Humming Bee ! 

Thy sting was needless then, perchance unknown ; 

The seeds of malice were not sown ; 

All creatures met in peace, from fierceness free, 

And no pride blended with their dignity. 

— Tears had not broken from their source ; 

Nor anguish strayed from her Tartarian den : 

The golden years maintained a course 

Not undiversified, though smooth and even ; 

We were not mocked with glimpse and shadow then; 

Bright Seraphs mixed familiarly with men ; 

And earth and stars composed a universal heaven ! 



TOPOGRAPHICAL DESCRIPTION 



OF 



THE COUNTRY OF THE LAKES 



IN 



Cfie 0ovt\) of dEttslanti. 



p 3 



This Essay, 'which tvas published several years ago as an In- 
troduction to some Vieijos of the Lakes, by the Rev. Joseph 
Wilkinson, [an expensive "work, and necessarily of limited 
circulation^ is notv, 'with emendations and additions, at- 
tached to these 'volumes ; from a consciousness of its having 
been 'written in the same spirit 'which dictated several of the 
poems, and from a belief that it 'will tend materially to 
illustrate them. 



TOPOGRAPHICAL DESCRIPTION 



OF 



THE COUNTRY OF THE LAKES. 



At Lucerne in Switzerland there existed, some years 
ago, a model of the Alpine country which encompasses 
the Lake of the four Cantons. The spectator ascended 
a little platform, and saw mountains, lakes, glaciers, 
rivers, woods, waterfalls, and valleys with their cottages 
and every other object contained in them, lying at his 
feet; all things being represented in their appropriate 
colours. It may be easily conceived that this exhibition 
afforded an exquisite delight to the imagination, which 
was thus tempted to wander at will from valley to valley, 
from mountain to mountain, through the deepest re- 
cesses of the Alps. But it supplied also a more sub- 

p 4 



216 DESCRIPTION OF THE 

stantial pleasure ; for the sublime and beautiful region, 
with all its hidden treasures, and their bearings and re- 
lations to each other, was thereby comprehended and 
understood at once. 

Something of this kind (as far as it can be performed by 
words, which must needs be inadequately) will here be at- 
tempted in respect to the Lakes in the north of England, 
and the vales and mountains enclosing and surrounding 
them. The delineation if tolerably executed will in some 
instances communicate to the traveller, who has already 
seen the objects, new information; and will assist iri 
giving to his recollections a more orderly arrangement 
than his own opportunities of observing may have per- 
mitted him to make ; while it will be still more useful to 
the future traveller, by directing his attention at once to 
distinctions in things which, without such previous aid, 
a length of time only could enable him to discover. It 
is hoped, also, that this Essay may become generally 
serviceable by leading to habits of more exact and con- 
siderate observation than, as far as the writer knows, 
have hitherto been applied to local scenery. ' 



COUNTRY OF THE LAKES. 2it 

To begin, then, with the main outUnes of the country. 
I know not how to give the reader a distinct image of 
these more readily, than by requesting him to place him- 
self with me, in imagination, upon some given point ; let 
it be the top of either of the mountains, Great Gavel, or 
SCawfell ; or, rather, let us suppose our station to be a 
cloud hanging midway between these two mountains, at 
not more than half a mile's distance from the summit of 
each, and not many yards above their highest elevation ; 
we shall then see stretched at our feet a number of val- 
leys, not fewer than nine, diverging from the point, on 
which we are supposed to stand, like spokes from the 
nave of a wheel. First, we note, lying to the south-east, 
the vale of Langdale, which will conduct the eye to the 
long Lake of Winandermere stretched nearly to the sea ; 

or rather to the sands of the vast bay of Morcamb, serving 
here for the rim of this imaginary wheel;-— let us trace it in 

a direction from the south-eas^t towards the south, and we 

shall next fix our eyes upon the vale of Coniston, running 

up likewise from the sea, but not (as all the other valleys 

do) to the nave of the wheel, and therefore it may not 



218 DESCRIPTION OF THE 

be inaptly represented as a broken spoke sticking in the 
rim. Looking forth again, with an inclination towards 
the west, immediately at our feet lies the vale of Duddon, 
in which is no lake, but a copious stream winding among 
fields, rocks, and mountains, and terminating its course 
. in the sands of Duddon. The fourth valley next to be 
observed, viz. that of Eskdale, is of the same general 
character as the last, yet beautifully discriminated from 
it by peculiar features. Next, almost due west, look 
down upon, and into, the deep valley of Wastdale, with 
its little chapel and half a dozen neat scattered dwellings, 
a plain of meadow and corn-ground intersected with 
stone walls apparently innumerable, like a large piece of 
lawless patch-work, or an array of mathematical figures, 
such as in the ancient schools of geometry might have been 
sportively and fantastically traced out upon sand. Beyond 
this little fertile plain lies, within its bed of steep moun- 
tains, the long, narrow, stern, and desolate Lake of Wast- 
dale ; and beyond this a dusky tract of level ground con- 
ducts the eye to the Irish Sea. The several vales of 
Ennerdale and Buttermere, with their lakes, next pre- 



COUNTRY OF THE LAKIES. 219 

sent themselves ; and lastly, the vale of Borrowdale, of 
which that of Keswick is only a continuation, stretching 
due north, brings us to a point nearly opposite to the 
vale of Winandermere with which we began. From this 
it will appear, that the image of a wheel thus far exact, 
is little more than one half complete ; but the deficiency 
on the eastern side may be supplied by the vales of 
Wytheburn, Ulswater, Hawswater, and the vale of Gras- 
mere and Rydal; none of these, however, run-up to the 
central point between Great Gavel and Scawfell. From 
this, hitherto our central point, take a flight of not more 
than three or four miles eastward to the ridge of Hel- 
vellyn, and you will look down upon Wytheburn and 
St. John's Vale, which are a branch of the vale of Kes- 
wick ; upon Ulswater, stretching due east, and not far 
beyond to the south-east, (though from this point not 
visible,) lie the vale and lake of Hawswater; and lastly^ 
the vale of Grasmere, Rydal, and Ambleside, brings 
you back to Winandermere, thus completing, though on 
the eastern side in a somewhat irregular manner, the 
representative figure of the wheel. 



220 DESCRIPTION OF THE 

Such, concisely given, is the general topographical view 
of the country of the Lakes in the north of England ; and 
it may be observed, that, from the circumference to the 
centre, that is, from the sea or plain country to the moun- 
tain stations specified, there is — in the several ridges that 
enclose these vales and divide them from each other, I 
mean in the forms and surfaces, first of the swelling 
grounds, next of the hills and rocks, and lastly of the 
mountains — an ascent of almost regular gradation from 
elegance and richness to the highest point of grandeur. 
It follows therefore from this, first, that these rocks, 
hills, and mountains, must present themselves to view 
in stages rising above each other, the mountains cluster- 
ing together towards the central point; and, next, that 
an observer familiar with the several vales, must, from 
their various position in relation to the sun, have 
had before his eyes every possible embellishment of 
beauty, dignity, and splendour, which light and shadow 
can bestow upon objects so diversified. For example, 
in the vale of Winandermere, if the spectator looks for 
gentle and lovely scenes, his eye is turned towards the 



COUNTRY OF THE LAKES. 221 

south ; if for the grand, towards the north ; in the vale 
of Keswick, which (as hath been said) lies almost due 
north of this, it is directly the reverse. Hence, when 
the sun is setting in summer far to the north-west, it is 
seen by the spectator from the shores or breast of Winan- 
dermere, resting among the summits of the loftiest moun- 
tains, some of which will perhaps be half or wholly hid 
by clouds, or by the blaze of light which the orb diffuses 
around it ; and the surface of the lake will reflect before 
the eye correspondent colours through every variety of 
beauty, and through all degrees of splendour. In the 
vale of Keswick, at the same period, the sun sets over 
the humbler regions of the landscape, and showers down 
upon^^^m the radiance which at once veils and glorifies, — 
sending forth, meanwhile, broad streams of rosy, crimson 
purple, or golden light, towards the grand mountains in 
the south and south-east, which, thus illuminated, with 
all their projections and cavities, and with an intermixture 
of solemn shadows, are seen distinctly through a cool and 
clear atmosphere. Of course, there is as marked a dif- 
ference between the noontide appearance of these two, 



222 DESCRIPTION OF THE 

opposite vales. The bedimming haze that overspreads 
the south, and the clear atmosphere and determined 
shadows of the clouds in the north, at the same time of 
the day, are each seen in these several vales, v^ith a con- 
trast as striking. The reader will easily perceive in 
what degree the intermediate vales partake of the same 
variety. 

I do not indeed know any tract of country in which, 
within so narrow a compass, may be found an equal 
variety in the influences of light and shadow upon the 
sublime or beautiful features of landscape ; and it is 
owing to the combined circumstances to which I have 
directed the reader's attention. From a point between 
Great Gavel and Scawfell, a shepherd would not require 
more than an hour to descend into any one of eight of the 
principal vales by which he would be surrounded ; and 
all the others lie (with the exception of Hawswater) at 
but a small distance. Yet, though clustered together, 
every valley has its distinct and separate character ; in 
some instances, as if they had been formed in studied 
contrast to each other, and in others with the united 



COUNTRY OF THE LAKES. 223 

pleasing differences and resemblances of a sisterly rival- 
ship. This concentration of interest gives to the coun- 
try a decided superiority over the most attractive districts 
of Scotland and Wales, especially for the pedestrian tra- 
veller. In Scotland and Wales are found undoubtedly 
individual scenes, which, in their several kinds, cannot 
be excelled. But, in Scotland, particularly, what deso- 
late and unimpressive tracts of country almost perpetually 
intervene ! so that the traveller, when he reaches a spot 
deservedly of great celebrity, would find it difficult to 
determine how much of his pleasure is owing to excel- 
lence inherent in the landscape itself; and how much to 
an instantaneous recovery from an oppression left upon 
his spirits by the barrenness and desolation through 
which he has passed. 

But, to proceed with our survey ; — and, first, of the 
Mountains. Their forms are endlessly diversified, 
sweeping easily or boldly in simple majesty, abrupt and 
precipitous, or soft and elegant. In magnitude and gran- 
deur they are individually inferior to the most celebrated 
of those in some other parts of this island ; but, in the 



224 DESCRIPTION OF THE 

combinations which they make, towering above each 
other, or lifting themselves in ridges Hke the waves of a 
tumultuous sea, and in the beauty and variety of their 
surfaces and their colours, they are surpassed by none. 

The general surface of the mountains is turf, rendered 
rich and green by the moisture of the climate. Some- 
times the turf, as in the neighbourhood of Newlands, is 
little broken, the whole covering being soft and downy 
pasturage. In other places rocks predominate ; the soil 
is laid bare by torrents and burstings of water from the 
sides of the mountains in heavy rains ; and occasionally 
their perpendicular sides are seamed by ravines (formed 
also by rains and torrents) which, meeting in angular 
points, entrench and scar over the surface with numerous 
figures like the letters W and Y. 

. The Mountains are composed of the stone by mi- 
neralogists termed schist, which, as you approach the 
plain country, gives place to lime-stone and free-stone ; 
but schist being the substance of the mountains, the 
predominant colour of their roclcy parts is bluish, or 
hoary gray — the general tint of the lichens with which 



COUNTRY OF THE LAKES. 



225 



the bare stone is encrusted. With this blue or grey 
colour is frequently intermixed a red tinge, proceeding 
from the iron that interveins the stone, and impregnates 
the soil. The iron is the principle of decomposition in 
these rocks ; and hence, when they become pulverized, 
the elementary particles crumbling down overspread in 
many places the steep and almost precipitous sides of 
the mountains with an intermixture of colours, like the 
compound hues of a dove's neck. When, in the heat of 
advancing summer, the fresh green tint of the herbage 
has somewhat faded, it is again revived by the appearance 
of the fern profusely spread every where ; and, upon this 
plant, more than upon any thing else, do the changes 
which the seasons make in the colouring of the moun- 
tains depend. About the first week in October, the rich 
green, which prevailed through the whole summer, is 
usually passed away. The brilliant and various colours 
of the fern are then in harmony with the autumnal woods; 
bright yellow or lemon colour, at the base of the moun- 
tains, melting gradually, through orange, to a dark russet 
brown towards the summits, where the plant being more 



226 DESCRIPTION OF THE 

exposed to the weather is in a more advanced state of 
decay. Neither heath nor fiarze are generally found upon 
the sides of these mountains, though in some places they 
are richly adorned by them. We may add, that the 
mountains are of height sufficient to have the surface to- 
wards the summits softened by distance, and to imbibe 
the finest aerial hues. In common also with other moun- 
tains, their apparent forms and colours are perpetually 
changed by the clouds and vapours which float round 
them : the effect indeed of mist or haze, in a country of 
this character, is like that of magic. I have seen six or 
seven ridges rising above each other, all created in a 
moment by the vapours upon the side of a mountain, 
which, in its ordinary appearance, showed not a 
projecting point to furnish even a hint for such an 
operation. 

I will take this opportunity of observing, that they, 
who have studied the appearances of nature, feel that the 
superiority, in point of visual interest, of mountainous 
over other countries — is more strikingly displayed in 
winter than in summer. This, as must be obvious, is 



COUNTRY OF THE LAKES. 227 

partly owing to the forms of the mountains, which, of 
course, are not affected by the seasons ; but also, in no 
small degree, to the greater variety that exists in their 
winter than their summer colouring. This variety is such, 
and so harmoniously preserved, that it leaves little cause 
of regret when the splendour of autumn is passed away. 
The oak-coppices, upon the sides of the mountains, re- 
tain russet leaves ; the birch stands conspicuous with its 
silver stem and puce-coloured twigs; the hollies, with 
green leaves and scarlet berries, have come forth to view 
from among the deciduous trees, whose summer foliage 
had concealed them ; the ivy is now plentifully apparent 
upon the stems and boughs of the trees, and among the 
woody rocks. In place of the uniform summer-green of 
the herbage and fern, many rich colours play into each 
other over the surface of the mountains ; turf (the tints 
of which are interchangeably tawny-green, olive, and 
brown,) beds of withered fern, and grey rocks, being 
harmoniously blended together. The mosses and lichens 
are never so fresh and flourishing as in winter, if it be 
not a season of frost ; and their minute beauties prodi- 

o 2 



228 DESCRIPTION OF THE 

gaily adorn the fore-ground. Wherever we turn, we 
find these productions of nature, to which winter is 
rather favourable than unkindly, scattered over the walls, 
banks of earth, rocks, and stones, and upon the trunks 
of trees, with the intermixture of several species of small 
fern, now green and fresh ; and, to the observing pas- 
senger, their forms and colours are a source of inex- 
haustible admiration. Add to this the hoar-frost and 
snow, with all the varieties they create, and which volumes 
would not be sufficient to describe. I will content myself 
with one instance of the colouring produced by snow, 
which may not be uninteresting to painters. It is ex- 
tracted from the memorandum -book of a friend ; and for 
its accuracy I can speak, having been an eye-witness of 
the appearance. " I observed," says he, " the beau- 
tiful effect of the drifted snow upon the mountains, and 
the perfect tone of colour. From the top of the moun- 
tains downwards a rich olive was produced by the pow- 
dery snow and the grass, which olive was warmed with 
a little brown, and in this way harmoniously combined, 
by insensible gradations, with the white. The drifting 



COUNTRY OF THE LAKES, 229 

took away the monotony of snow ; and the whole vale of 
Grasmere, seen from the terrace walk in Easedale, was 
as varied, perhaps more so, than even in the pomp 
of autumn. In the distance was Loughrigg-Fell, the 
basin-wall of the lake : this, from the summit downward, 
was a rich orange-olive ; then the lake of a bright olive- 
green, nearly the same tint as the snow-powdered moun- 
tain tops and high slopes in Easedale; and lastly, the 
church with its firs forming the centre of the view. Next 
to the church with its firs, came nine distinguishable 
hills, six of them with woody sides turned towards us, 
all of them oak-copses with their bright red leaves and 
snow-powdered twigs ; these hills — so variously situated 
to each other, and to the view in general, so variously 
powdered, some only enough to give the herbage a rich 
brown tint, one intensely white and lighting up all the 
others — were yet so placed, as in the most inobtrusive 
manner to harmonise by contrast with a perfect naked, 
snowless bleak summit in the far distance." 

Having spoken of the forms, surface, and colour of the 
mountains, let us descend into the Valleys. Though 

2 3 



230 DESCRIPTION OF THE 

these have been represented under the general image of 
the spokes of a wheel, they are, for the most part, wind- 
ing; the windings of many being abrupt and intricate. 
And, it may be observed, that, in one circumstance, 
the general shape of them all has been determined by 
that primitive conformation through which so many 
became receptacles of lakes. For they are not formed, 
as are most of the celebrated Welsh valleys, by an ap- 
proximation of the sloping bases of the opposite moun- 
tains towards each other, leaving little more between 
than a channel for the passage of a hasty river ; but the 
bottom of these valleys is, for the most part, a spacious 
and gently declining area, apparently level as the floor of 
a temple, or the surface of a lake, and beautifully broken, 
in many cases, by rocks and hills, which rise up like 
islands from the plain. In such of the valleys as make 
many windings, these level areas open upon the traveller 
in succession, divided from each other sometimes by a 
mutual approximation of the hills, leaving only passage 
for a river, sometimes by correspondent windings, with- 
out such approximation ; and sometimes by a bold ad- 



COUNTRY OF THE LAKES. 231 

vance of one mountain towards that which is opposite to 
it. It may here be observed with propriety, that the 
several rocks and hills, which have been described as 
rising up like islands from the level area of the vale, 
have regulated the choice of the inhabitants in the situ- 
ation of their dwellings. Where none of these are found, 
and the inclination of the ground is not sufficiently rapid 
easily to carry off the waters, (as in the higher part of 
Langdale, for instance,) the houses are not sprinkled over 
the middle part of the vales, but confined to their sides, 
being placed merely so far up the mountain as to pro- 
tect them from the floods. But where these rocks and 
hills have been scattered over the plain of the vale, (as 
in Grasmere, Donnerdale, Eskdale, &c.) the beauty 
which they give to the scene is much heightened by a 
single cottage, or cluster of cottages, that will be almost 
always found under them or upon their sides ; dryness 
and shelter having tempted the Dalesmen to fix their 
habitations there. 

I shall now speak of the Lakes of this country. The 
form of the lake is most perfect when, like Derwent- 

o 4 



232 DESCRIPTION QF THE 

water and some of the smaller lakes, it least resembles 
that of a river ; — I mean, when being looked at from 
any given point where the whole may be seen at once, 
the width of it bears such proportion to the length, that, 
however the outline may be diversified by far-shooting 
bays, it never assumes the shape of a river, and is con- 
templated with that placid and quiet feeling which be- 
longs peculiarly to the lake — as a body of still water 
under the influence of no current; reflecting therefore 
the clouds, the light, and all the imagery of the sky and 
surrounding hills; expressing also and making visible 
the changes of the atmosphere, and motions of the 
lightest breeze, and subject to agitation only from the 
winds — 

—• The visible scene 



Would enter unawares into his mind 

With all its solemn imagery, its rocks, 

Its woods, and that uncertain heaven received 

Into the bosom of the steady lake ! 

It must be noticed, as a favourable characteristic of the 
lakes of this country, that, though several of the largest. 



COUNTRY OF THE LAKES. 233 

such as Winandermere, Ulswater, Haws water, &c. do, 
when the whole length of them is commanded from an 
elevated point, lose somewhat of the peculiar form of the 
lake, and assume the resemblance of a magnificent river ; 
yet, as their shape is winding, (particularly that of Uls- 
water and Hawswater) when the view of the whole is 
obstructed by those barriers which determine the wind- 
ings, and the spectator is confined to one reach, the ap- 
propriate feehng is revived ; and one lake may thus in 
succession present to the eye the essential characteristic 
of many. But, though the forms of the large lakes have 
this advantage, it is nevertheless a circumstance favour- 
able to the beauty of the country, that the largest of 
them are comparatively small ; and that the same valley 
generally furnishes a succession of lakes, instead of being 
filled with one. The valleys in North Wales, as hath been 
observed, are not formed for the reception of lakes ; those 
of Switzerland, Scotland, and this part of the north of 
England, are so formed ; but, in Switzerland and Scot- 
land, the proportion of diffused water is often too great, 
as at the lake of Geneva for instance, and in most of the 



234 DESCRIPTION OF THE 

Scotch lakes. No doubt it sounds magnificent and flat- 
ters the imagination to hear at a distance of expanses of 
water so many leagues in length and miles in width ; 
and such ample room may be delightful to the fresh- 
water sailor scudding with a lively breeze amid the ra- 
pidly-shifting scenery. But, who ever travelled along the 
banks of Loch-Lomond, variegated as the lower part is 
by islands, without feeling that a speedier termination 
of the long vista of blank water would be acceptable ; and 
without wishing for an interposition of green meadows, 
trees, and cottages, and a sparkling stream to run by 
his side ? In fact, a notion of grandeur, as connected 
with magnitude, has seduced persons of taste into a ge- 
neral mistake upon this subject. It is much more de- 
sirable, for the purposes of pleasure, that lakes should 
be numerous, and small or middle-sized, than large, not 
only for communication by walks and rides, but for va- 
riety, and for recurrence of similar appearances. To 
illustrate this by one instance : — how pleasing is it to 
have a ready and frequent opportunity of watching, at 
the outlet of a lake, the stream pushing its way. among 



COUNTRY OF THE LAKES. 235 

the rocks in lively contrast with the stillness from which 
it has escaped ; and how amusing to compare its noisy 
and turbulent motions with the gentle playfulness of the 
breezes, that may be starting up or wandering here and 
there over the faintly-rippled surface of the broad water ! 
I may add, as a general remark, that, in lakes of great 
width, the shores cannot be distinctly seen at the same 
time, and therefore contribute little to mutual illustration 
and ornament; and if, like the American and Asiatic 
lakes, the opposite shores are out of sight of each other, 
then unfortunately the traveller is reminded of a nobler 
object ; he has the blankness of a sea-prospect without 
the same grandeur and accompanying sense of power. 

As the' comparatively small size of the lakes in the 
North of England is favourable to the production of 
variegated landscape, their hoiindary-line also is for the 
. most part gracefully or boldly indented. That uni- 
formity which prevails in the primitive frame of the 
lower grounds among all chains or clusters of moun- 
tains where large bodies of still water are bedded, is 
broken by the secondary agents of nature, ever at work 



236 DESCRIPTION OF THE 

to supply the deficiencies of the mould in which things 
were originally cast. It need scarcely be observed that 
using the word, deficiencies, I do not speak with refer- 
ence to those stronger emotions which a region of 
mountains is peculiarly fitted to excite. The bases of 
those huge barriers may run for a long space in straight 
lines, and these parallel to each other; the opposite 
sides of a profound vale may ascend as exact counter- 
parts or in mutual reflection like the billows of a troubled 
sea; and the impression be, from its very simplicity, 
more awful and sublime. Sublimity is the result of 
Nature's first great dealings with the superficies of the 
earth ; but the general tendency of her subsequent oper- 
ations, is towards the production of beauty, by a mul- 
tiplicity of symmetrical parts uniting in a consistent 
whole. This is every where exemplified along the 
margin of these lakes. Masses of rock, that have been 
precipitated from the heights into the area of waters, lie 
frequently like stranded ships; or have acquired the 
compact structure of jutting piers ; or project in little 
peninsulas crested with native wood. The smallest 



COUNTRY OF THE LAKES. 237 

rivulet •^— one whose silent influx is scarcely noticeable 
in a season of dry weather so faint is the dimple made 
by it on the surface of the smooth lake — will be found 
to have been not useless in shaping, by its deposits of 
gravel and soil in time of flood, a curve that would 
not otherwise have existed. But the more powerful 
brooks, encroaching upon the level of the lake, have in 
course of time given birth to ample promontories, whose 
sweeping line often contrasts boldly with the longitudinal 
base of the steeps on the opposite shore ; while their flat 
or gently-sloping surface never fails to introduce, into 
the midst of desolation and barrenness, the elements of 
fertility, even where the habitations of men may not 
happen to have been raised. These alluvial promon- 
tories, however, threaten in some places to bisect the 
waters which they have long adorned ; and, in course of 
ages, they will cause some of the lakes to dwindle into 
numerous and insignificant pools ; which, in their turn, 
will finally be filled up. But the man of taste will say, 
it is an impertinent calculation that leads to such un- 
welcome conclusions; — let us rather be content with 



2S8 DESCRIPTION OF THE 

appearances as they are, and pursue in imagination the 
meandering shores, whether rugged steeps, admitting of 
no cultivation, descend into the water ; or the shore is 
formed by gently-sloping lawns and rich woods, or by 
flat and fertile meadows stretching between the margin 
of the lake and the mountains. Among minuter recom- 
mendations will be noted with pleasure the curved rim 
of fine blue gravel thrown up by the waves, especially 
in bays exposed to the setting-in of strong winds ; here 
and there are found, bordering the lake, groves, if I 
may so call them, of reeds and bulrushes ; or plots of 
water-lilies lifting up their large circular leaves to the 
breeze, while the white flower is heaving upon the 
wave. 

The Islands are neither so numerous nor so beau- 
tiful as might be expected from the account I have 
given of the manner in which the level areas of the vales 
are so frequently diversified by rocks, hills, and hillocks, 
scattered over them ; nor are they ornamented, as are 
several islands of the lakes in Scotland, by the remains 
of old castles or other places of defence, or of monastic 



COUNTRY OF THE LAKES. 239 

edifices. There is however a beautiful cluster of islands 
on Winandermere ; a pair pleasingly contrasted upon 
Rydal ; nor must the solitary green island at Grasmere 
be forgotten. In the bosom of each of the lakes of 
Ennerdale and Devock-water is a single rock which, 
owing to its neighbourhood to the sea, is — 

" The haunt of cormorants and sea-mews* clang," 

a music well suited to the stern and wild character of the 
several scenes ! 

This part of the subject may be concluded with ob- 
serving — that, from the multitude of brooks and tor- 
rents that fall into these lakes, and of internal springs 
by which they are fed, and which circulate through them 
like veins, they are truly living lakes, " vivi lacus ;^ 
and are thus discriminated from the stagnant and sullen 
pools frequent among mountains that have been formed 
by volcanoes, and from the shallow meres found in flat 
and fenny countries. The water is also pure and crys- 
talline ; so that, if it were not for the reflections of the 
incumbent mountains by which it is darkened, a delusion 



240 DESCRIPTION OF THE 

might be felt, by a person resting quietly in a boat on 
the bosom of Wi^iandermere or Derwent-water, similar 
to that which C^trver so beautifuUv describes when he 
was floating alone in the middle of the lake Erie or 
Ontario, and could almost have imagined that his boat 
was suspended in an element as pure as air, or rather 
that the air and water were one. 

Having spoken of Lakes I must not omit to mention, 
as a kindred feature of this country, those bodies of still 
water called Tarns. These are found in some of the 
valleys, and are very numerous upon the mountains. A 
Tarn, in a Vale, implies, for the most part, that the bed 
of the vale is not happily formed ; that the water of the 
brooks can neither wholly escape, nor diffuse itself over 
a large area. Accordingly, in such situations. Tarns 
are often surrounded by a tract of boggy ground which 
has an unsightly appearance ; but this is not always the 
case, and in the cultivated parts of the country, when 
the shores of the Tarn are determined, it differs only 
from the Lake in being smaller, and in belonging mostly 
to a smaller valley or circular recess. Of this class of 



COUNTRY OF THE LAKES. 241 

miniature lakes Loughrigg Tarn, near Grasmere, is the 
most beautiful example. It has a margin of green firm 
meadows, of rocks, and rocky woods, a few reeds here, 
a little company of water-lilies there, with beds of gravel 
or stone beyond ; a tiny stream issuing neither briskly 
nor sluggishly out of it ; but its feeding rills, from the 
shortness of their course, so small as to be scarcely 
visible. Five or six cottages are reflected in its peaceful 
bosom; rocky and barren steeps rise up above the 
hanging enclosures ; and the solemn pikes of Langdale 
overlook, from a distance, the low cultivated ridge of 
land that forms the northern boundary of this small, 
quiet, and fertile domain. The mountain Tarns can 
only be recommended to the notice of the inquisitive 
traveller who has time to spare. They are difficult of 
access and naked; yet some of them are, in their per- 
manent forms, very grand ; and there are accidents of 
things which would make the meanest of them interest- 
ing. At all events, one of these pools is an acceptable 
sight to the mountain wanderer, not merely as an inci- 
dent that diversifies the prospect,^ but as forming in his 

R 



242 DESCRIPTION OF THE 

mind a centre or conspicuous point to which objects, 
otherwise disconnected or unsubordinated, may be re- 
ferred. Some few have a varied outline, with bold 
heath-clad promontories ; and, as they mostly lie at the 
foot of a steep precipice, the water, where the sun is not 
shining upon it, appears black and sullen ; and round 
the margin huge stones and masses of rock are scat- 
tered; some defying conjecture as to the means by which 
they came there, and others obviously fallen from on 
high — the contribution of ages ! The sense, also, of 
some repulsive power strongly put forth — excited by 
the prospect of a body of pure water unattended with 
groves and other cheerful rural images by which fresh 
water is usually accompanied, and unable to give any 
furtherance to the meagre vegetation around it — 
heightens the melancholy natural to such scenes. Nor 
is the feeling of solitude often more forcibly or more 
solemnly impressed than by the side of one of these moun- 
tain pools : though desolate and forbidding, it seems a 
distinct place to repair to ; yet where the visitants must be 
rare, and there can be no disturbance. Water-fowl 



St 
COUNTRY OF THE LAKES. 243 



flock hither; and the lonely Angler may oftentimes 
here be seen : but the imagination, not content with this 
scanty allowance of society, is tempted to attribute a 
voluntary power to every change which takes place in 
such a spot, whether it be the breeze that Wanders over 
the surface of the water, or the splendid lights of evening 
resting upon it in the midst of awful precipices. 

" There, sometimes does a leaping fish 
Send through the tarn a lonely cheer ; 
The crags repeat the raven's croak 
In symphony austere : 
Thither the rainbow comes, the cloud, 
And mists that spread the flying shroud, 
And sunbeams, and the sounding blast, — 

Though this country is, on one side, bounded by the 
sea, which combines beautifully, from some elevated 
points of view, with the inland scenery ; yet the sestuaries 
cannot pretend to vie with those of Scotland and Wales : 
— the Lakes are such in the strict and usual sense of 
the word, being all of fresh water ; nor have the Rivers, 

R 2 



244 DESCRIPTION OF THE 



from the shortness of their course, time to acquire that 
body of water necessary to confer upon them much 
majesty. In fact, while they continue in the mountain 
and lake-country, they are rather large brooks than 
rivers. The water is perfectly pellucid, through which 
in many places are seen to a great depth their beds of 
rock or of blue gravel which give to the water itself an 
exquisitely cerulean colour : this is particularly striking 
in the rivers, Derwent and Duddon, which may be 
compared, such and so various are their beauties, to 
any two rivers of equal length of course in any coun- 
try. The number of the torrents and smaller brooks is 
infinite, with their water-falls and water-breaks; and 
they need not here be described. I will only observe 
that^ as many, even of the smallest of these rills, have 
either found, or made for themselves, recesses in the 
sides of the mountains or in the vales, they have tempted 
the primitive inhabitants to settle near them for shelter ; 
and hence the retirement and seclusion by which these 
cottages are endeared to the eye of the man of sen- 
sibility. 



COUNTRY OF THE LAKES. 245 

The Woods consist chieHy of oak, ash, and birch, 
and here and there a species of elm, with underwood of 
hazel, the white and black thorn, and hollies ; in moist 
places alders and willows abound ; and yews among the 
the rocks. Formerly the whole country must have been 
covered with wood to a great height up the mountains ; 
and native Scotch Firs (as in the northern part of Scot- 
land to this day) must have grown in great profusion. 
But no one of these old inhabitants of the country re- 
mains, or perhaps has done for some hundreds of years ; 
beautiful traces however of the universal sylvan appear- 
ance the country formerly had, are yet seen, both in the 
native coppice-woods that remain, and have been pro- 
tected by enclosures, and also in the forest-trees and hol- 
lies, which, though disappearing fast, are yet scattered 
both over the inclosed and uninclosed parts of the moun- 
tains. The same is expressed by the beauty and intri- 
cacy with which the fields and coppice-woods are often 
intermingled: the plough of the first settlers having 
followed naturally the veins of richer, dryer, or less stony 
soil ; and thus it has shaped out an intermixture of wood 

R 3 • 



b 



246 DESCRIPTION OF THE 

and lawn with a grace and wildness which it would have 
been impossible for the hand of studied art to produce. 
Other trees have been introduced within these last fifty 
years, such as beeches, larches, limes, &c. and plant- 
ations of Scotch firs, seldom with advantage, and often 
with great injury to the appearance of the country ; but 
the sycamore (which I believe was brought into this 
island from Germany, not more than two hundred years 
ago) has long been the favourite of the cottagers ; and, 
with the Scotch fir, has been chosen to screen their 
dwellings ; and is sometimes found in the fields whither 
the winds or waters may have carried its seeds. 

The want most felt, however, is that of timber trees. 
There are few magnificent ones to be found near any of 
the lakes; and, unless greater care be taken, there 
will in a short time scarcely be left an ancient oak that 
would repay the cost of felling. The neighbourhood of 
Rydal, notwithstanding the havoc which has been made, 
is yet nobly distinguished. In the woods of Lowther, 
also, is found an almost matchless store of the grandest 



COUNTRY OF THE LAKES. 247 

trees, and all the majesty and wildness of the native 
forest. 

Among the smaller vegetable ornaments provided 
here by nature, must be reckoned the juniper, bilberry, 
and the broom-plant, with which the hills and woods 
abound; the Dutch myrtle in moist places; and the 
endless variety of brilliant flowers in the fields and 
meadows ; which, if the agriculture of the country were 
more carefully attended to, would disappear. Nor can 
I omit again to notice the lichens and mosses, — their 
profusion, beauty, and variety exceed those of any other 
country I have seen. 

Thus far I have chiefly spoken of the features by 
which Nature has discriminated this country from 
others. I will now describe, in general terms, in what 
manner it is indebted to the hand of man. What I 
have to notice on this subject will emanate most easily 
and perspicuously from a description of the ancient 
and present inhabitants, their occupations, their con- 
dition of life, the distribution of landed property among 
them, and the tenure by which it is holden. 

11 4 



248 DESCRIPTION OF THE 

The reader will suiFer me here to recall to his mind 
the shapes of the valleys and their position with respect 
to each other, and the forms and substance of the in- 
tervening mountains. He will people the valleys with 
lakes and rivers ; the coves and sides of the moun- 
tains with pools and torrents ; and will bound half of the 
circle which we have contemplated by the sands of the 
sea, or by the sea itself. He will conceive that, from 
the point upon which he before stood, he looks down 
upon this scene before the country had been penetra- 
ted by any inhabitants : — to vary his sensations and to 
break in upon their stillness, he will form to himself 
an image of the tides visiting and re- visiting the Friths, 
the main sea dashing against the bolder shore, the rivers 
pursuing their course to be lost in the mighty mass of 
waters. He may see or hear in fancy the winds sweep- 
ing over the lakes, or piping with a loud voice among 
the mountain peaks ; and, lastly, may think of the pri- 
meval woods shedding and renewing their leaves with no 
human eye to notice, or human heart to regret or wel- 
come the change. " When the first settlers entered this 



COUNTRY OF THE LAKES. _ 249 

region (says an animated writer) they found it over- 
spread with wood ; forest trees, the fir, the oak, the 
ash, and the birch, had skirted the fells, tufted the hills, 
and shaded the valleys through centuries of silent soli- 
tude ; the birds and beasts of prey reigned over the 
meeker species ; and the helium inter omnia maintained 
the balance of nature in the empire of beasts." 

Such was the state and appearance of this region when 
the aboriginal colonists of the Celtic tribes were first 
driven or drawn towards it, and became joint tenants with 
the wolf, the boar, the wild bull, the red deer, and the 
leigh, a gigantic species of deer which has been long 
extinct ; while the inaccessible crags were occupied by 
the falcon, the raven, and the eagle. The inner parts 
were too secluded and of too little value to participate 
much of the benefit of Roman manners ; and though 
these conquerors encouraged the Britons to the improve- 
ment of their lands in the plain country of Furness and 
Cumberland, they seem to have had little connection 
with the mountains, except for military purposes, or in 
subservience to the profit they drew from the mines. 



250 DESCRIPTION OF THE 

When the Romans retired from Great Britain, it is 
well known that these mountain fastnesses furnished a 
protection to some unsubdued Britons, long after the 
more accessible and more fertile districts had been seized 
by the Saxon or Danish invader. A few though distinct 
traces of Roman forts or camps, as at Ambleside, and 
upon Dunmallet, and two or three circles of rude stones 
attributed to the Druids, are the only vestiges that remain 
upon the surface of the country, of these ancient occu- 
pants ; and, as the Saxons and Danes, who succeeded to 
the possession of the villages and hamlets which had been 
established by the Britons, seem at first to have confined 
themselves to the open country, — we may descend at 
once to times long posterior to the conquest by the Nor- 
mans when their feudal polity was regularly established. 
We may easily conceive that these narrow dales and 
mountain sides, choaked up as they must have been with 
wood, lying out of the way of communication with other 
parts of the Island, and upon the edge of a hostile king- 
dom, could have little attraction for the high-born and 
powerful; especially as the more open parts of the 



COUNTRY OF THE LAKES. 251 

country furnished positions for castles and houses of de- 
fence sufficient to repel any of those sudden attapks, 
which, in the then rude state of military knowledge, could 
be made upon them. Accordingly, the more retired 
regions (and, observe, it is to these I am now confining 
myself) must have been neglected or shunned even by 
the persons whose baronial or signioral rights extended 
over them, and left, doubtless, partly as a place of re- 
fuge for outlaws and robbers, and partly granted out for 
the more settled habitation of a few vassals following the 
employment of shepherds or woodlanders. Hence 
these lakes and inner valleys are unadorned by any of 
the remains of ancient grandeur, castles, or monastic 
edifices, which are only found upon the skirts of this 
countiy, as Furness Abbey, Calder Abbey, the 
Priory of Lannercost, Gleaston Castle, — long ago a 
residence of the Flemings, — and the numerous an- 
cient castles of the Cliffords and the Dacres. On the 
southern sideof these mountains, (especially in that part 
known by the name of Furness Fells, which is more 
reniote from the borders,) the state of society would ne- 



I 



252 DESCRIPTION OF THE 

cessarily be more settled ; though it was fashioned not a 
little, with the rest of the country, by its neighbourhood 
to a hostile kingdom. We will therefore give a sketch 
of the oeconomy of the Abbots in the distribution of lands 
among their tenants, as similar plans were doubtless 
adopted by other Lords, and as the consequences have 
affected the face of the country materially to the present 
day, being in fact one of the principal causes which give 
it such a striking superiority, in beauty and interest, 
over all other parts of the island. 

" When the Abbots of Furness," says an author 
before cited, "enfranchised their villains, and raised them 
to the dignity of customary tenants, the lands, which 
they had cultivated for their lord, were divided into 
whole tenements ; each of which, besides the customary 
annual rent, was charged with the obligation of having 
in readiness a man completely armed for the king's 
service on the borders, or elsewhere : each of these 
whole tenements was again subdivided into four equal 
parts ; each villain had one ; and the party tenant con- 
tributed his share to the support of the man at arms. 



COUNTRY OF THE LAKES. 253 

Rtid of other burdens. These divisions were not pro- 
perly distinguished; the land remained mixed; each 
tenant had a share through all the arable and meadow- 
land, and common of pasture over all the wastes. These 
sub- tenements were judged sufficient for the support of 
so many families ; and no further division was permitted. 
These divisions and sub-divisions were convenient at the 
time for which they were calculated ; the land, so par- 
celled out, was, of necessity, more attended to ; and 
the industry greater, when more persons were to be 
supported by the produce of it. The frontier of the 
kingdom, within which Furness was considered, was in 
a constant state of attack and defence ; more hands, 
therefore, were necessary to guard the coast, to repel 
an invasion from Scotland, or make reprisals on the 
hostile neighbour. The dividing the lands in such 
manner as has been shown, increased the number of 
inhabitants, and kept them at home till called for ; and, 
the land being mixed, and the several tenants united in 
equipping the plough, the absence of the fourth man 
was no prejudice to the cultivation of his land, which 
was committed to the care of three. 



25i DESCRIPTION OF THE 

While the villains of Low Furness were thus distri- 
buted over the land, and employed in agriculture ; those 
of High Furness were charged with the care of flocks 
and herds, to protect them from the wolves which 
lurked in the thickets, and in winter to browse them 
with the tender sprouts of hollies and ash. This custom 
was not till lately discontinued in High Furness ; and 
holly-trees were carefully preserved for that purpose 
when , all other wood was cleared off; large tracts of 
common being so covered with these trees, as to have 
the appearance of a forest of hollies. At the Shepherd's 
call, the flocks surrounded the holly-bush, and received 
the croppings at his hand, which they greedily nibbled 
up, bleating for more. The Abbots of Furness enfran- 
chised these pastoral vassals, and permitted them to 
enclose quillets to their houses, for which they paid en- 
croachment rent*" — West's Antiquities of Furness. 

However desirable, for the purposes of defence, a 
numerous population might be, it was not possible to 
make at once the same numerous allotments among the 
untilled valleys, and upon the sides of the mountains, as 



COUNTRY OF THE LAKES. 255 

had been made in the cultivated plains. The enfran- 
chised shepherd, or woodlander, having chosen there 
his place of residence, builds it of sods, or of the 
mountain-stone, and, with the permission of his lord, 
encloses, like Robinson Crusoe, a small croft or two 
immediately at his door for such animals chiefly as he 
wishes to protect. Others are happy to imitate his 
example, and avail themselves of the same privileges ; 
and thus a population, mainly of Danish or Norse ori- 
gin, as the dialect indicates, crept on towards the more 
secluded parts of the valleys. Chapels, daughters of 
some distant mother church, are first erected in the 
more open and fertile vales, as those of Bowness and 
Grasmere, offsets of Kendal ; which again, after a 
period, as the settled population increases, become 
mother-churches to smaller edifices, scattered, at length, 
in almost every dale throughout the country. The en- 
closures, formed by the tenantry, are for a long time 
confined to the home-steads ; and the arable and meadow 
land of the vales is possessed in common field ; the 
several portions being marked out by stones, bushes, or 



256 DESCRIPTION OF THE 

trees ; which portions, where the custom has survived, 
to this day are called dales^ from the word deylen^ to 
distribute ; but while the valley was thus lying open, 
enclosures seem to have taken place upon the sides of 
the mountains ; because the land there was not inter- 
mixed, and was of little comparative value; and, therefore, 
small opposition would be made to its being appropriated 
by those to whose habitations it was contiguous. Hence 
the singular appearance which the sides of many of 
these mountains exhibit, intersected, as they are, al- 
most to their summit, with stone walls, of which the 
fences are always formed. When first erected, they 
must have little disfigured the face of the country ; as 
part of the lines would every where be hidden by the 
quantity of native wood then remaining ; and the lines 
would also be broken (as they still are) by the rocks 
which interrupt and vary their course. In the mea- 
dows, and in those parts of the lower grounds where 
the soil has not been sufficiently drained, and could not 
afford a stable foundation, there, when the increasing 
value of land, and the inconvenience suffered from 



COUNTRY OF THE LAKES. 257 



intermixed plots of ground in common field, had in- 
duced each inhabitant to inclose his own, they were 
compelled to make the fences of alders, willows, and 
other trees. These, where the native wood had 
disappeared, have frequently enriched the valleys 
with a sylvan appearance ; while the intricate inter- 
mixture of property has given to the fences a grace- 
ful irregularity, which, where large properties are 
prevalent, and larger capitals employed in agricul- 
ture, is unknown. This sylvan appearance is still 
further heightened by the number of ash-trees which 
have been planted in rows along the quick fences, and 
along the walls, for the purpose of browzing cattle at 
the approach of winter. The branches are lopped off 
and strewed upon the pastures ; and, when the cattle 
have stripped them of the leaves, they are used for 
repairing hedges, or for fuel. 

We have thus seen a numerous body of Dalesmen' 
creeping into possession of their home-steads, their little 
crofts, their mountain-enclosures ; and, finally, the whole 
vale is visibly divided ; except, perhaps, here and there 



25S DESCRIPTION OF THE 

some marshy ground, which, till fully drained, would 
not repay the trouble of enclosing. But these last par- 
titions do not seem to have been general, till long after 
the pacification of the Borders, by the union of the 
two crowns ; when the cause, which had first deter- 
mined the distribution of land into such small parcels, 
had not only ceased, — but likewise a general improve- 
ment had taken place in the country, with a corre- 
spondent rise in the value of its produce. From the 
time of the union, it is certain that this species of feudal 
population would rapidly diminish. That it was for- 
merly much more numerous than it is at present, is 
evident from the multitude of tenements (I do not mean 
houses, but small divisions of land,) which belonged 
formerly each to its several proprietor, and for which 
separate fines are paid to the manorial lord at this day. 
These are often in the proportion of four to one, of the 
present occupants. " Sir Launcelot Threlkeld, who 
lived in the reign of Henry VII. was wont to say, he 
had three noble houses, one for pleasure, Crosby, in 
Westmoreland, where he had a park full of deer ; one 



COUNTRY OF THE LAKES. 259 

for profit and warmth, wherein to reside in winter, 
namely, Yariwith, nigh Penrith ; and the third, Threl- 
keld (on the edge of the vale of Keswick) well stocked 
with tenants to go with him to the wars." But, as I 
have said, from the union of the two crowns, this nu- 
merous vassalage (their services not being wanted) would 
rapidly diminish ; various tenements would be united in 
one possessor ; and the aboriginal houses, probably 
little better than hovels, like the kraels of savages, or 
the huts of the Highlanders of Scotland, would many 
of them fall into decay, and wholly disappear, while 
the place of others was supplied by substantial and 
comfortable buildings, a majority of which remain to 
this day scattered over the valleys, and are in many the 
only dwellings found in them. 

From the time of the erection of these houses, till 
within the last fifty years, the state of society, though 
no doubt slowly and gradually improving, underwent no 
material change. Corn was grown in these vales (through 
which no carriage-road had been made) sufficient upon 
each estate to furnish bread for each familv, and no 

s 2 



260 DESCRIPTION OF THE 

more : notwithstanding the union of several tenements, 
the possessions of each inhabitant still being small, in 
the same field was seen an intermixture of different 
crops ; and the plough was interrupted by little rocks, 
mostly overgrown with wood, or by spongy places, which 
the tillers of the soil had neither leisure nor capital to 
convert into firm land. The storms and moisture of the 
climate induced them to sprinkle their upland property 
with outhouses of native stone, as places of shelter for 
their sheep, where, in tempestuous weather, food was 
distributed to them. Every family spun from its own 
flock the wool with which it was clothed ; a weaver was 
here and there found among them ; and the rest of their 
wants were supplied by the produce of the yarn, which 
they carded and spun in their own houses, and carried 
to market, either under their arms, or more frequently 
on pack-horses, a small train taking their way weekly 
down the valley or over the mountains to the most com- 
modious town. They had, as I have said, their rural 
chapel, and of course their minister, in clothing or in 
manner of life, in no respect differing from themselves, 



COUNTRY OF THE LAKES. 261 

except on the Sabbath-day; this was the sole distin- 
guished individual among them ; every thing else, person 
and possession, exhibited a perfect equality, a commu- 
nity of shepherds and agriculturists, proprietors, for the 
most part, of the lands which they occupied and 
cultivated. 

While the process above detailed was going on, the 
native forest must have been every where receding ; but 
trees were planted for the sustenance of the flocks in 
winter, — such was then the rude state of agriculture ; 
and, for the same cause, it was necessary that care should 
be taken of some part of the growth of the native forest. 
Accordingly, in Queen Elizabeth's time, this was so 
strongly felt, that a petition was made to the Crown, 
praying, " that the Blomaries in high Furness might be 
abolished, on account of the quantity of wood which was 
consumed in them for the use of the mines, to the great 
detriment of the cattle." But this same cause, about a 
hundred years after, produced effects directly contrary 
to those which had been deprecated. The re-establish- 

s 3 



262 DESCRIPTION OF THE 

ment, at that period, of furnaces upon a large scale, 
made it the interest of the people to convert the steeper 
and more stony of the enclosures, sprinkled over with 
remains of the native forest, into close woods, which, 
when cattle and sheep were excluded, rapidly sowed and 
thickened themselves. I have already directed the 
reader's attention to the cause by which tufts of wood, 
pasturage, meadow, and arable land, with its various 
produce, are intricately intermingled in the same field, 
and he will now see, in like manner, how enclosures 
entirely of wood, and those of cultivated ground, are 
blended all over the country under a law of similar 
wildness. 

An historic detail has thus been given of the manner 
in which the hand of man has acted upon the surface of 
the inner regions of this mountainous country, as incor- 
porated with and subservient to the powers and processes 
of nature. We will now take a view of the same agency 
acting, within narrower bounds, for the production of the 
few works of art and accommodations of life which, in so 



COUNTRY OF THE LAKES. 263 

simple a state of society, could be necessary. These 
are merely habitations of man and coverts for beasts, 
roads and bridges, and places of worship. 

And to begin with the Cottages. They are scat- 
tered over the valleys, and under the hill sides, and on 
the rocks ; and, even to this day, in the more retired dales, 
without any intrusion of more assuming buildings. 

Clustered like stars some few, but single most, 
And lurking dimly in their shy retreats, 
Or glancing on each other cheerful looks, 
Like separated stars with clouds between. 

MS. 

The dwelling-houses, and contiguous outhouses, are, in 
many instances, of the colour of the native rock, out of 
which they have been built ; but, frequently the dwelling- 
house has been distinguished from the barn and byer by 
roughcast and white wash, which, as the inhabitants are 
hot hasty in renewing it, in a few years acquires, by the 
influence of weather, a tint at once sober and variegated. 
As these houses have been from father to son inhabited 
by person^ engaged in the same occupations, yet neces- 

s 4 



264? DESCRIPTION OF THE 

sarily with changes in their circumstances, they have re- 
ceived additions and accommodations adapted to the 
needs of each successive occupant, who, being for the 
most part proprietor, was at Hberty to follow his own 
fancy; so that these humble dwellings remind the con- 
templative spectator of a production of nature, and may 
(using a strong expression) rather be said to have grown 
than to have been erected ; — to have risen by an instinct 
of their own out of the native rock i so little is there in 
them of formality; such is their wildness and beauty. 
Among the numerous recesses and projections in the 
walls and in the different stages of their roofs, are seen 
the boldest and most harmonious effects of contrasted 
sunshine and shadow. It is a favourable circumstance, 
that the strong winds, which sweep down the valleys, 
induced the inhabitants, at a time when the materials for 
building were easily procured, to furnish many of these 
dwellings with substantial porches; and such as have 
not this defence, are seldom unprovided with a projection 
of two large slates over their thresholds. Nor will the 
singular beauty of the chimneys escape the eye of the at- 



COUNTRY OF THE LAKES. 265 

tentive traveller. Sometimes a low chimney, almost 
upon a level with the roof, is overlaid with a slate, sup- 
ported upon four slender pillars, to prevent the wind 
from driving the smoke down the chimney. Others are 
of a quadrangular shape, rising one or two feet above 
the roof; which low square is often surmounted by a tall 
cylinder, giving to the cottage chimney the most beau- 
tiful shape in which it is ever seen. Nor will it be too 
fanciful or refined to remark, that there is a pleasing 
harmony between a tall chimney of this circular form, 
and the living column of smoke, through the still air 
ascending from it. These dwellings, as has been said, 
are built of rough unhewn stone ; and they are roofed 
with slates, which were rudely taken from the quarry 
before the present art of splitting them was understood, 
and are therefore rough and uneven in their surfaces, so 
that both the coverings and sides of the houses have fur- 
nished places of rest for the seeds of lichens, mosses, 
ferns, and flowers. Hence buildings, which, in their 
very form call to mind the processes of nature, do thus, 
clothed with this vegetable garb, appear to be received 



266 DESCRIPTION OF THE 

into the bosom of the living principle of things, as it acts 
and exists among the woods and fields; and, by their 
colour and their shape, affectingly direct the thoughts to 
that tranquil course of nature and simplicity, along which 
the humble-minded inhabitants have through so many ge- 
nerations been led. Add the little garden with its shed for 
bee-hives, its small beds of pot-herbs, and its borders and 
patches of flowers for Sunday posies, with sometimes a 
choice few too much prized to be plucked ; an orchard 
of proportioned size ; a cheese-press, often supported by 
some tree near the door ; a cluster of embowering syca- 
mores for summer shade ; with a tall Scotch fir, through 
which the winds sing when other trees are leafless ; 
the little rill or household spout murmuring in all sea- 
sons; — combine these incidents and images together, 
and you have the representative idea of a mountain- 
cottage in this country so beautifully formed in itself, 
and so richly adorned by the hand of nature. 

Till within the last fifty years there was no commu- 
nication between any of these vales by carriage-roads ; 
all bulky articles were transported on pack-horses. 



COUNTRY OF THE LAKES. 267 

Owing, however, to the population not being concen- 
trated in villages but scattered, the valleys themselves 
were intersected as now by innumerable lanes and path- 
ways leading from house to house and from field to field. 
These lanes, where they are fenced by stone walls, are 
mostly bordered with ashes, hazels, wild roses, and beds 
of tall fern, at their base ; while the walls themselves if 
old are overspread with mosses, small ferns, wild straw- 
berries, the geranium, and lichens ; and if the wall hap- 
pen to rest against a bank of earth, it is sometimes 
almost wholly concealed by a rich facing of stone-fern. 
It is a great advantage to a traveller or resident, that 
these numerous lanes and paths, if he be a zealous ad- 
mirer of nature, will introduce him, nay, will lead him 
on into all the recesses of the country, so that the hidden 
treasures of its landscapes will by an ever-ready guide 
be laid open to his eyes. 

Likewise to the smallness of the several properties is 
owing the great number of bridges over the brooks 
and torrents, and the daring and graceful neglect of 
danger or accommodation with which so many of them 



S68 DESCRIPTION OF THE 

are constructed, the rudeness of the forms of some, and 
their endless variety. But, when I speak of this rude- 
ness, I must at the same time add that many of these 
structures are in themselves models of elegance, as if 
they had been formed upon principles of the most 
thoughtful architecture. It is to be regretted that these 
monuments of the skill of our ancestors, and of that 
happy instinct by which, consummate beauty was pro- 
duced, are disappearing fast; but sufficient specimens 
remain to give a high gratification to the man of genuine 
taste. Such travellers as may not be accustomed to pay 
attention to these things, will excuse me if I point out 
the proportion between >the span and elevation of the 
arch, the lightness of the parapet, and the graceful 
manner in which its curve follows faithfully that of the 
arch. 

Upon this subject I have nothing further to notice, 
except the places of worship, which have mostly a little 
school-house adjoining. The architecture of these 
churches and chapels, where they have not been recently 
rebuilt or modernised, is of a style not less appropriate 



COUNTRY OF THE LAKES. 269 

and admirable than that of the dwelling-houses and 
other structures. How sacred the spirit by which our 
forefathers were directed ! The religio loci is no where 
outraged by these unstinted, yet unpretending, works 
of human hands. They exhibit generally a well-pro- 
portioned oblong with a suitable porch, in some instances 
a steeple tower, and in others nothing more than a small 
belfry in which one or two bells hang visibly. — But 
these objects, though pleasing in their forms, must ne- 
cessarily, more than others in rural scenery, derive their 
interest from the sentiments of piety and reverence for 
the modest virtues and simple manners of humble life 
with which they may be contemplated. A man must be 
very insensible who would not be touched with pleasure 
at the sight of the chapel of Buttermere, so strikingly 
expressing by its diminutive size how small must be the 
congregation there assembled, as it were, like one family ; 
and proclaiming at the same time to the passenger, in 
connection with the surrounding mountains, the depth of 
that seclusion in which the people live that has rendered 
necessary the building of a separate place of worship for 



270 DESCRIPTION OF THE 

so few, A Patriot, calling to mind the images of the 
stately fabrics of Canterbury, York, or Westminster, 
will find a heart-felt satisfaction in presence of this lowly 
pile, as a monument of the wise institutions of our 
country, and as evidence of the all-pervading and pater- 
nal care of that venerable Establishment of which it is 
perhaps the humblest daughter. — The edifice is scarcely 
larger than many of the smgle stones or fragments of 
rock which are scattered near it. 

We have thus far confined our observations on this 
division of the subject to that part of these Dales which 
runs up far into the mountains. In addition to such 
objects as have been hitherto described, it may be men- 
tioned that, as we descend towards the open part of the 
Vales, we meet with the remains of ancient Parks, and 
with old Mansions of more stately architecture ; and it 
ma}'^ be observed that to these circumstances the country 
owes whatever ornament it retains of, majestic and full- 
grown timber, as the remains of the park of the ancient 
family of the RatclifFs at Derwent-water, Gowbray-r 
park, and the venerable woods of Rydal. Through the 



COUNTRY OF THE LAKES. , 271 

open parts of the vales are scattered, with more spacious 
domains attached to them, houses of a middle rank, 
between the pastoral cottage and the old hall-residence 
of the more wealthy Estaiesma?i. 

Thus has been given a faithful description, the mi- 
nuteness of which the reader will pardon, of the face of 
this country as it was, and had been through centuries, 
till within the last fifty years. Towards the head of 
these Dales was found a perfect Repubhc of Shepherds 
and Agriculturalists, among whom the plough of each 
man was confined to the maintenance of his own family, 
or to the occasional accommodation of his neighbour. 
Two or three cows furnished each family with milk and 
cheese. The Chapel was the only edifice that presided 
over these dwellings, the supreme head of this pure Com- 
monwealth ; the members of which existed in the midst 
of a powerful empire, Kke an ideal society or an organised 
community, whose constitution had been iaiposed and 
regulated by the mountains which protected it. Neither 
Knight, nor Esquire, nor high-born Nobleman, was h^re; 
but many of these humble sons of the hills had a con- 



272 DESCRIPTION OF THE 

sciousness that the land, which they walked over and 
tilled, had for more than five hundred years been pos- 
sessed by men of their name and blood ; — and venerable 
was the transition, when a curious traveller, descending 
from the heart of the mountains, had come to some 
ancient manorial residence in the more open parts of the 
Vales, which, through the rights attached to its pro- 
prietor, connected the almost visionary mountain Re- 
public he had been contemplating with the substantial 
frame of society as existing in the laws and constitution 
of a mighty empire. 

Such, as I have said, was the appearance of things till 
within these last fifty years. A practice, by a strange 
abuse of terms denominated Ornamental Gardening, was 
at that time becoming prevalent over England. In 
union with an admiration of this art and in some in- 
stances in opposition to it, had been generated a relish 
for select parts of natural scenery ; and Travellers instead 
of confining their observations to Towns, Manufactories, 
or Mines, began (a thing till then unheard of) to wander 
over the Island in search of sequestered spots distin- 



COUNTRY OF THE LAKES. 273 

guished, as they might accidentally have learned, for the 
sublimity or beauty of the forms of Nature there to be 
seen. — Dr. Brown, the celebrated Author of the Estimate 
of the Manners and Principles of the Times, published 
a letter to a Friend in which the attractions of the Vale 
of Keswick were delineated with a powerful pencil, and 
the feeling of a genuine Enthusiast. Gray the Poet 
followed ; he died soon after his forlorn and melancholy 
pilgrimage to the Vale of Keswick, and the record left 
behind him of what he had seen and felt in this journey 
excited that pensive interest with which the human mind 
is ever disposed to listen to the farewell words of a Man 
of genius . The journal of Gray feelingly showed how the 
gloom of ill health and low spirits had been irradiated 
by objects, which the Author's powers of mind enabled 
him to describe with distinctness and unaffected simpli- 
city. Every reader of this journalmusthavebeenimpressed 
with the words that conclude his notice of the Vale of 
Grasmere — " Not a single red tile, no flaring gentle- 
man's house or garden-wall, breaks in upon the repose 
of this little unsuspected paradise; but all is peace, 

T 



274 DESCRIPTION OF THE 

rusticity, and happy poverty in its neatest and most 
becoming attire." 

What is here so justly said of Grasmere applied 
almost equally to all its sister Vales. It was well for 
the undisturbed pleasure of the Poet that he had no 
forebodings of the change which was soon to take place ; 
and it might have been hoped that these words, indi- 
cating how much the charm of what was, depended upon 
what was not, would of themselves have preserved the 
ancient franchises of this and other kindred mountain 
retirements from trespass ; or, (shall I dare to say ?) 
would have secured scenes so consecrated from profan- 
ation. The lakes had now become celebrated ; visitors 
flocked hither from all parts of England ; the fancies 
of some were smitten so deeply, that they became set- 
tlers ; and the Islands of Derwent- water and Winander- 
mere, as they offered the strongest temptation, were the 
first places seized upon, and were instantly defaced by 
the intrusion. 

The venerable wood that had grown for centuries 
round the small house called St. Herbert's Hermitage, 



# 



COUNTRY OF THE LAKES. 275 

had indeed some years before been felled by its native 
proprietor, and the whole island had been planted 
anew with Scotch firs left to spindle up by each other's 
side — a melancholy phalanx, defying the power of the 
winds, and disregarding the regret of the spectator, who 
might otherwise have cheated himself into a belief, that 
some of the decayed remains of those oaks, the place of 
which is in this manner usurped, had been planted by 
the Hermit's own hand. Comparatively, however, this 
sainted spot suffered little injury. The Hind's Cottage 
upon Vicar's island, in the same lake, with its embower- 
ing sycamores and cattle shed, disappeared, at the bid- 
ding of an alien improver, from the corner where they 
had stood ; and right in the middle, and upon the precise 
point of the island's highest elevation, rose a tall square 
habitation, with four sides exposed, like an observatory, 
or a warren-house reared upon an eminence for the de- 
tection of depredators, or, like the temple of QEolus, 
where all the winds pay him obeisance. Round this 
novel structure, but at respectful distance, platoons of 
firs were stationed, as if to protect their commander when 
weather and time should somewhat have shattered his 

T 2 



276 DESCRIPTION OF THE 

strength. Within the narrow limits of this island were 
typified also the state and strength of a kingdom, and its 
religion as it had been and was, — for neither was the 
druidical circle uncreated, nor the church of the present 
establishment ; nor the stately pier, emblem of commerce 
and navigation ; nor the fort, to deal out thunder upon 
the approaching invader. The taste of a succeeding 
proprietor rectified the mistakes as far as was practicable, 
and has ridded the spot of all its puerilities. The 
church, after having been docked of its steeple, is ap- 
plied, both ostensibly and really, to the purpose for which 
the body of the pile was actually erected, namely, a boat- 
house ; the fort is demolished, and, without indignation 
on the part of the spirits of the ancient Druids who offi- 
ciated at the circle upon the opposite hill, the mimic ar- 
ranirement of stones, with its sanctum sanctorum, has 
been swept away. 

The present instance has been singled out, extravagant 
as it is, because, unquestionably, this beautiful country has, 
in numerous other places, suffered from the same spirit, 
though not clothed exactly in the same form, nor active in 
an equal degree. It will be sufficient here to utter a regret 



- COUNTRY OF THE LAKES. 277 

for the changes that have been made upon the principal 
Island at Winandermere, and in its neighbourhood. What 
could be more unfortunate than the taste that suggested the 
paring of the shores, and surrounding with an embankment 
this spot of ground, the natural shape of which was so 
beautiful ! An artificial appearance has thus been given to 
the whole, while infinite varieties of minute beauty have 
been destroyed. Could not the margin of this noble 
island be given back to nature ? Winds and waves 
work with a careless and graceful hand ; and, should 
they in some places carry away a portion of the soil, the 
trifling loss would be amply compensated by the addi- 
tional spirit, dignity, and loveliness, which these agents 
and the other powers of nature would soon communicate 
to what was left behind. As to the larch-plantations 
upon the main shore, — they who remember the original 
appearance of the rocky steeps scattered over with native 
hollies and ash-trees, will be prepared to agree with 
what I shall have to say hereafter upon plantations in 
general. 

But, in truth, no one can now travel through the more 

T 3 



278 DESCRIPTION OF THE 

frequented tracts, without being oiFended at almost every 
turn by an intioduction of discordant objects, disturbing 
that peaceful harmony of form and colour which had 
been through a long lapse of ages most happily pre- 
served. 

All gross transgressions of this kind originate, doubt- 
less, in a feeling natural and honourable to the human 
mind, viz. the pleasure which it receives from distinct 
ideas, and from the perception of order, regularity, and 
contrivance. Now, unpractised minds receive these 
impressions only from objects that are divided from 
each other by strong lines of demarcation ; hence the 
delight with which such minds are smitten by formality 
and harsh contrast. But I would beg of those who 
are eager to create the means of such gratification, 
first carefully to study what already exists; and they 
will find, in a country so lavishly gifted by nature, an 
abundant variety of forms marked out with a precision 
that will satisfy their desires. Moreover, a new habit 
of pleasure will be formed opposite to this, arising out 
of the perception of the fine gradations by which in 



COUNTRY OF THE LAKES. 279 

nature one thing passes away into another, and the 
boundaries that constitute individuality, disappear in 
olie instance, only to be revived elsewhere under a more 
alluring Torm. The hill of Dunmallet, at the foot of 
Ulswater, was once divided into different portions, by 
avenues of fir-trees, with a green and almost perpendi- 
cular lane descending down the steep hill through each 
avenue ; — contrast this quaint appearance with the image 
of the same hill overgrown with self-planted wood, — 
each tree springing up in the situation best suited to 
its kind, and with that shape which the situation con- 
strained or suffered it to take. What endless melting 
and playing into each other of forms and colours does 
the one offer to a mind at once attentive and active ; 
and how insipid and lifeless, compared with it, appear 
those parts of the former exhibition with which a child, 
a peasant perhaps, or a citizen unfamiliar with natural 
imagery, would have been most delighted ! 

I cannot, however, omit observing, that the disfigure- 
ment which this country has undergone, has not pro- 
ceeded wholly from those common feelings of human 

T 4 



280 DESCRIPTION OF THE 

nature which have been referred to as the primary sources 
of bad taste in rural scenery; another cause must 
be added, which has chiefly shown itself in its effect 
upon buildings. I mean 'a warping of the natural 
mind occasioned by a consciousness that, this country 
being an object of general admiration, every new house 
would be looked at and commented upon either for 
approbation or censure. Hence all the deformity and 
ungracefulness that ever pursue the steps of constraint 
or affectation. Men, who in Leicestershire or North- 
amptonshire would probably have built a modest dwell- 
ing like those of their sensible neighbours, have been 
turned out of their course ; and, acting a part, no won- 
der if, having had little experience, they act it ill. The 
craving for prospect also, which is immoderate, parti- 
cularly in new settlers, has rendered it impossible that 
buildings, whatever might have been their architecture, 
should in most instances be ornamental to the landscape ; 
rising as they do from the summits of naked hills in 
staring contrast to the snugness and privacy of the an- 
cient houses. 



COUNTRY OF THE LAKES. 281 

No man is to be condemned for a desire to decorate 
his residence and possessions ; feeling a disposition to 
applaud such an endeavour, I would show how the end may 
be best attained. The rule is simple ; with respect to 
grounds — work, where you can, in the spirit of nature 
with an invisible hand of art. Planting, and a removal 
of wood, may thus and thus only be carried on with 
good effect ; and the like may be said of building, if An- 
tiquity, who may be styled the co-partner and sister of 
Nature, be not denied the respect to which she is entitled. 
I have already spoken of the beautiful forms of the an- 
cient mansions of this country, and of the happy manner 
in which they harmonise with the forms of nature. Why 
cannot these be taken as a model, and modern internal 
convenience be confined within their external grace and 
dignity ? Expense to be avoided, or difficulties to be 
overcome, may prevent a close adherence to this model ; 
still, however, it might be followed to a certain degree 
in the style of architecture and in the choice of situation, 
if the thirst for prospect were mitigated by those con- 
siderations of comfort, shelter, and convenience, which 



282 DESCRIPTION OF THE 

used to be chiefly sought after. But, should an aversion 
to old fashions unfortunately exist, accompanied with a 
desire to transplant into the cold and stormy North, the 
elegancies of a villa formed upon a model taken from 
countries with a milder climate, I will adduce a passage 
from an English poet, the divine Spenser, which will 
show in what manner such a plan may be realised with- 
out injury to the native beauty of these scenes. 

<* Into that forest farre they thence him led, 

Where was their dwelling in a pleasant glade 

With MOUNTAINS round about environed, 

And MIGHTY WOODS which did the valley shade, 

And like a stately theatre it made, 

Spreading itself into a spacious plaine ; 

And in the midst a little river plaide 

Emongst the pumy stones which seem'd to 'plaine 

With gentle murmure that his course they did restrains 

Beside the same a dainty place there lay, 

Planted with mirtle trees and laurels green, 

In which the birds sang many a lovely lay 

Of God's high praise, and of their sweet loves teene, 



COUNTRY OF THE LAKES. 283 

■A. 

As it an earthly paradise had beene ; 

In whose enclosed shadotv there was pight 

A fair pavilion, scarcely to be seen. 

The which was all within most richly dight, 

That greatest princes living it mote well delight." 

Houses or mansions suited to a mountainous region, 
should be " not obvious, nor obtrusive, but retired ;" 
and the reasons for this rule, though they have been 
little adverted to, are evident. Mountainous coun- 
tries, more frequently and forcibly than others, remind 
us of the power of the elements, as manifested in winds, 
snows, and torrents, and accordingly make the notion 
of exposure very unpleasing ; while shelter and comfort 
are in proportion necessary and acceptable. Far-winding 
valleys difficult of access, and the feelings of simplicity 
habitually connected with mountain retirements, prompt 
us to turn from ostentation as a thing there eminently 
unnatural and out of place. A mansion, amid such 
scenes, can never have sufficient dignity or interest to 
become principal in the landscape, and render the moun- 
tains, lakes, or torrents by which it may be surrounded. 



284< DESCRIPTION OF THE 

a subordinate part of the view. It is, I grant, easy to 
conceive, that an ancient castellated building, hanging 
over a precipice or raised upon an island, or the peninsula 
of a lake, like that of Kilchurn Castle, upon Loch Awe, 
may not want, whether deserted or inhabited, sufficient 
majesty to preside for a moment in the spectator's thoughts 
over the high mountains among which it is embosomed ; 
but its titles are from antiquity — a power readily sub- 
mitted to upon occasion as the vicegerent of Nature: it 
is respected, as having owed its existence to the neces- 
sities of things, as a monument of security in times of 
disturbance and danger long passed-away, — as a record 
of the pomp and violence of piassion, and a symbol of 
the wisdom of law ; — it bears a countenance of autho- 
rity, which is not impaired by decay. 

" Child of loud-throated war^ the mountain-stream 
Roars in thy heari'ng ; but thy hour of rest 

Is come, and thou art silent in thy age !" MS. 

« 

To such honours a modern edifice can lay no claim ; and 
the puny efforts of elegance appear contemptible, when, 
in such situations, they are obtruded in rivalship with 



COUNTRY OF THE LAKES. 285 

the sublimities of Nature. But, towards the verge of 
a district like this of which we are treating, where the 
mountains subside into hills of moderate elevation, or 
in an undulating or flat country, a gentleman's mansion 
may, with propriety, become a principal feature in the 
landscape; and, itself being a work of art, works and 
traces of artificial ornament may, without censure, be 
extended around it, as they will be referred to the 
common centre, the house ; the right of which to im- 
press within certain limits a character of obvious orna- 
ment will not be denied, where no commanding forms of 
nature dispute it, or set it aside. Now, to a want of the 
perception of this difference, and to the causes before 
assigned, may chiefly be attributed the disfigurement 
which the Country of the Lakes has undergone, from 
persons who may have built, demolished, and planted, 
with full confidence, that every change and addition was 
or would become an improvement. 

The principle that ought to determine the position, 
apparent size, and architecture of a house, viz. that it 
should be so constructed, and (if large) so much of it 



286 DESCRIPTION OF THE 

hidden, as to admit of its being gently incorporated into 
the scenery of nature — should also determine its colour. 
Sir Joshua Reynolds used to say, " if you would fix 
upon the best colour for your house, turn up a stone, 
or pluck up a handful of grass by the roots, and see 
what is the colour of the soil where the house is to stand, 
and let that be your choice." Of course, this precept, 
my en in conversation, could not have been meant to be 
taken literally. For example, in Low Furness, where 
the soil, from its strong impregnation with iron, is uni- 
versally of a deep red, if this rule were strictly followed, 
the house also must be of a glaring red ; in other places 
it must be of a sullen black ; which would only be adding 
annoyance to annoyance. The rule, however, as a ge- 
neral guide, is good; and, in agricultural districts, 
where large tracts of soil are laid bare by the plough, 
particularly if (the face of the country being undulating) 
they are held up to view, this rule, though not to be im- 
plicitly adhered to, should never be lost sight of; — the 
colour of the house ought, if possible, to have a cast or 
shade of the colour of the soil. The principle is, that 



COUNTRY OF THE LAKES. 287 

the house must harmonise with the surrounding land- 
scape: accordingly, in mountainous countries, with still 
more confidence may it be said, " look at the rocks and 
those parts of the mountains where the soil is visible, and 
they will furnish a safe direction." Nevertheless, it will 
often happen that the rocks may bear so large a propor- 
tion to the rest of the landscape, and may be of such a 
tone of colour, that the rule may not admit even here 
of being implicitly followed. For instance, the chief 
defect in the colouring of the Country of the Lakes, 
(which is most strongly felt in the summer season) is an 
over-prevalence of a bluish tint, which the green of the 
herbage, the fern, and the woods, does not sufficiently 
counteract. If a house, therefore, should stand where 
this defect prevails, I have no hesitation in saying, that 
the colour of the neighbouring rocks would not be the 
best that could be chosen. A tint ought to be introduced 
approaching nearer to those which, in the technical lan- 
guage of painters, are called warm: this, if happily 
selected, would not disturb but would animate the land- 
scape. How often do we see this exemplified upon a 



288 DESCRIPTION OF THE 

small scale by the native cottages, in cases where the 
glare of white- wash has been subdued by time and en- 
riched by weather-stains ! No harshness is then seen ; 
but one of these cottages, thus coloured, will often form a 
central point to a landscape by which the whole shall be 
connected, and an influence of pleasure diffused over all 
the objects that compose the picture. But where the 
cold blue tint of the rocks is enriched by the iron tinge, 
the colour cannot be too closely imitated ; and it will be 
produced of itself by the stones hewn from the adjoining 
quarry, and by the mortar, which may be tempered with 
the most gravelly part of the soil. The pure blue gravel, 
from the bed of the river, is, however, more suitable to 
the mason's purpose, who will probably insist also that 
the house must be covered with rough-cast, otherwise it 
cannot be kept dry ; if this advice be taken, the builder 
of taste will set about contriving such means as may 
enable him to come the nearest to the effect aimed at. 

The supposed necessity of rough-cast to keep out rain 
in houses not built of hewn stone or brick, has tended 
greatly to injure English landscape, and the neighbour- 



COUNTRY OF THE LAKES. 289 

hood of these Lakes especially, by furnishing such apt 
occasion for whitening buildings. That white should be 
a favourite colour for rural residences is natural for many 
reasons. The mere aspect of cleanliness and neatness 
thus given, not only to an individual house, but, where 
the practice is general, to the whole face of the country, 
produces moral associations so powerful, that, in the 
minds of many, they take place of every other relating 
to such objects. But what has already been said upon 
the subject of cottages, must have convinced men of 
feeling and imagination, that a human habitation of the 
humblest class may be rendered more deeply interesting 
to the affections, and far more pleasing to the eye, by 
other influences than a sprightly tone of colour spread 
over its outside. I do not, however, mean to deny, that 
a small white building, embowered in trees, may, in 
some situations, be a delightful and animating object — 
in no way injurious to the landscape; but this only, 
where it sparkles from the midst of a thick shade, and 
in rare and solitary instances ; especially if the country 
be itself rich, and pleasing, and full of grand forms. On 

u 



^90 DESCRIPTION OF THE 

the sides of bleak and desolate moors, we are indeed 
thankful for the sight of white cottages and white houses 
plentifully scattered, where, without these, perhaps every 
thing would be cheerless : this is said, however, with 
hesitation, and with a wilful sacrifice of some higher] enjoy- 
ments. But I have certainly seen such buildings glitter- 
ing at sunrise, and in wandering lights, with no common 
pleasure. The continental traveller also will remember, 
that the convents hanging from the rocks of the Rhine, 
the Rhone, the Danube, or among the Appenines or the 
mountains of Spain, are not looked at with less com- 
placency when, as is often the case, they happen to be 
of a brilliant white. But this is perhaps owing, in no 
small degree, to the contrast of that lively colour with 
the gloom of monastic life, and to the general want of 
rural residences of smiling and attractive appearance, in 
those countries. 

The objections to white, as a colour, in large spots 
or masses in landscapes, especially in a mountainous 
"country, are insurmountable. In nature, pure white is 
scarcely ever found but in small objects, such as 



COUNTRY OF THE LAKES. 291 

flowers ; or in those which are transitory, as the clouds, 
foam of rivers, and snow. Mr. Gilpin, who notices 
this, has also recorded the just remark of Mr. Locke, 
of N , that white destroys the gradations of dis- 
tance ; and, therefore, an object of pure white can 
scarcely ever be managed with good effect in landscape- 
painting. Five or six white houses, scattered over a 
valley, by their obtrusiveness, dot the surface, and di- 
vide it into triangles, or other mathematical figures, 
haunting the eye, and disturbing that repose which 
might otherwise be perfect. I have seen a single white 
house materially impair the majesty of a mountains- 
cutting away, by a harsh separation, the whole of its 
base, below the point on which the house stood. Thus 
was the apparent size of the mountain reduced, not by 
the interposition of another object in a manner to call 
forth the imagination, which will give more than the 
eye loses ; but what had been abstracted in this case 
was left visible ; and the mountain appeared to take its 
beginning, or to rise from the line of the house, instead 
of its own natural base. But, if I may express my own 

u 2 



292 DESCRIPTION OF THE 

individual feeling, it is after sunset, at the coming on 
of twilight, that white objects are most to be complained 
of. The solemnity and quietness of nature at that time 
are always marred, and often destroyed by them. When 
the ground is covered with snow, they are of course 
inoffensive ; and in moonshine they are always pleasing 
— it is a tone of light with which they accord ; and the 
dimness of the scene is enlivened by an object at once 
conspicuous and cheerful. I will conclude this subject 
with noticing, that the cold, slaty colour, which many 
persons, who have heard the white condemned, have 
adopted in its stead, must be disapproved of for the 
reason already given. The flaring yellow runs into 
the opposite extreme, and is still more censurable. 
Upon the whole, the safest colour, for general use, is 
something between a cream and a dust-colour, commonly 
called stone-colour ; — there are, among the Lakes, ex- 
amples of this that need not be pointed out. 

The principle taken as our guide, viz. that the house 
should be so formed, and of such apparent size and 
colour, as to admit of its being gently incorporated with 



COUNTRY OF THE LAKES. 293 

the scenery of nature, should also be applied to the 
management of the grounds and plantations, and is 
here more urgently needed ; for it is from abuses in this 
department, far more even than from the introduction 
of exotics in architecture (if the phrase may be used) 
that this country has suffered. Larch and fir plant- 
ations have been spread every where, not merely with a 
view to profit, but in many instances for the sake 
of ornament. To those who plant for profit, and are 
thrusting every other tree out of the way to make room 
for their favourite, the larch, I would utter first a regret 
that they should have selected these lovely vales for 
their vegetable manufactory, when there is so much 
barren and irreclaimable land in the neighbouring moors, 
and in other parts of the Island, which might have been 
had for this purpose at a far cheaper rate. And I 
will also beg leave to represent to them, that they ought 
not to be carried away by flattering promises from the 
speedy growth of this tree ; because, in rich soils and 
sheltered situations, the wood, though it thrives fast, is 
full of sap, and of little value ; and is, likewise, very 

u 3 



294 DESCRIPTION OF THE 

subject to ravage from the attacks of insects, and from 
blight. Accordingly, in Scotland, where planting is 
much better understood, and carried on upon an in- 
comparably larger scale than among us, good soil and 
sheltered situations are appropriated to the oak, the 
ash, and other deciduous trees ; and the larch is now 
generally confined to barren and exposed ground. There 
the plant, which is a hardy one, is of slower growth ; 
much less liable to injury ; and the timber is of better 
quality. But there are many, whose circumstances 
permit them, and whose taste leads them, to plant with 
little regard to profit ; and others, less wealthy, who 
have such a lively feeling of the native beauty of these 
scenes, that they are laudably not unwilling to make 
some sacrifices to heighten it. Both these classes of 
persons, I would entreat to enquire of themselves 
wherein that beauty which they admire consists. They 
would then see that, after the feeling has been gratified 
that prompts us to gather round our dwelling a few 
flowers and shrubs, which, from the circumstance of 
their not being native, may, by their very looks, 



COUNTRY OF THE LAKES. 295 

remind us that they owe their existence to our hands, 
and their prosperity to our care ; they will see that, after 
this natural desire has been provided for, the course of 
all beyond has been predetermined by the spirit of the 
place. Before I proceed with this subject, I will pre- 
pare my way with a remark of general application, 
by reminding those who are not satisfied with the 
restraint thus laid upon them, that they are liable to a 
charge of inconsistency, when they are so eager to 
change the face of that country, whose native attractions, 
by the act of erecting their habitations in it, they have 
so emphatically acknowledged. And surely there is not 
in this country a single spot that would not have, if well 
managed, sufficient dignity to support itself, unaided by 
the productions of other climates, or by elaborate de- 
corations which might be becoming elsewhere. 

But to return; — having adverted to the considerations 
that justify the introduction of a few exotic plants, pro- 
vided they be confined almost to the doors of the house, 
we may add, that a transition should be contrived with- 
out abruptness, from these foreigners to the rest of the 

u 4 



296 DESCRIPTION OF THE 

shrubs, which ought to be of the kinds scattered by 
Nature through the woods — holly, broom, wild-rose, 
elder, dogberry, white and black thorn, &c. either 
these only, or such as are carefully selected in conse- 
quence of their uniting in form, and harmonising in 
colour with them, especially with respect to colour, 
when the tints are most diversified, as in autumn and 
spring. The various sorts of fruit-and-blossom-bearing 
trees usually found in orchards, to which may be added 
those of the woods, — namely, the wilding, black cherry 
tree, and wild cluster-cherry (here called heck-berry), 
may be happily admitted as an intermediate link between 
the shrubs and the forest trees ; which last ought almost 
entirely to be such as are natives of the country. Of 
the birch, one of the most beautiful of the native trees, 
it may be noticed, that, in dry and rocky situations, it 
outstrips even the larch, which many persons are tempted 
to plant merely on account of the speed of its growth. 
Sycamore, and the Scotch fir (which, when it has room 
to spread out its arms, is a noble tree) may be placed 
with advantage near the house ; for, from their massiver 



COUNTRY OF THE LAKES. 297 

ness, they unite well with buildings, and in some situa- 
tions with rocks also; having, in their forms and apparent 
substances, the effect of something intermediate betwixt 
the immoveableness and solidity of stone, and the sprays 
and foliage of the lighter trees. If these general rules be 
just, what shall we say to whole acres of artificial 
shrubbery and exotic trees among rocks and dashing 
torrents, with their own wild wood in sight — where 
we have the whole contents of the nurseryman's cata- 
logue jumbled together — colour at war with colour, 
and form with form — among the most peaceful subjects 
of Nature's kingdom every where discord, distraction, 
and bewilderment ! But this deformity, bad as it is, is 
not so obtrusive as the small patches and large tracts of 
larch plantations that are over-running the hill-sides. 
To justify our condemnation of these, let us again recur 
to Nature. The process, by which she forms woods 
and forests, is as follows. Seeds are scattered indiscri- 
minately by winds, brought by waters, and dropped by 
birds. They perish, or produce, according as the soil 
upon which they fall is suited to them ; and under the 



298 DESCRIPTION OF THE 

same dependence, the seedling or sucker, if not cropped 
by animals, thrives, and the tree grows, sometimes 
single, taking its own shape without constraint, but for 
the most part being compelled to conform itself to some 
law imposed upon it by its neighbours. ■ From low and 
sheltered places, vegetation travels upwards to the more 
exposed ; and the young plants are protected, and to a 
certain degree fashioned, by those that have preceded 
them. The continuous mass of foliage which would be 
thus produced, is broken by rocks, or by glades or open 
places, where the browzing of animals has prevented 
the growth of wood. As vegetation ascends, the winds 
begin also to bear their part in moulding the forms of 
the trees ; but, thus mutually protected, trees, though 
not of the hardiest kind, are enabled to climb high up 
the mountains. Gradually, however, by the quality of 
the ground, and by increasing exposure, a stop is put to 
their ascent ; the hardy trees only are left ; these also, 
by little and little, give way, -—and a wild and irregular 
boundary is esta-blished, graceful in its outline, and 
never contemplated without some feeling more or 



COUNTRY OF THE LAKES. 299 

less distinct of the powers of nature by which it is 
imposed. 

Contrast the liberty that encourages, and the law that 
limits, this joint work of nature and time, with the dis- 
heartening necessities, restrictions, and disadvantages, 
under which the artificial planter must proceed, even he 
whom long observation and fine feeling have best quali- 
fied for his task. In the first place his trees, however 
well chosen and adapted to their several situations, must 
generally ail start at the same time ; and this circum- 
stance would of itself prevent that fine connection of 
parts, that sympathy and organization, if I may so ex- 
press myself, which pervades the whole of a natural 
wood, and appears to the eye in its single trees, its 
masses of foliage, and their various colours when they 
are held up to view on the side of a mountain; or, 
when spread over a valley, they are looked down upon 
from an eminence. It is then impossible, under any cir- 
cumstances, for the artificial planter to rival the beauty 
of nature. But a moment's thought will show that, if 
ten thousand of this spiky tree, the larch, are stuck in at 



300 DESCRIPTION OF THE 

once upon the side of a hill, they can grow up into no- 
thing but deformity ; that, while they are suffered to 
stand, we shall look in vain for any of those appearances 
which are the chief sources of beauty in a natural 
wood. 

It must be acknowledged that the larch, till it has 
outgrown the size of a shrub, shows, when looked at 
singly, some elegance in its form and appearance, es- 
pecially in spring, decorated, as it then is, by the 
pink tassels of its blossoms ; but, as a tree, it is less 
than any other pleasing ; its branches (for boughs it has 
none) have no variety in the youth of the tree, and little 
dignity even when it attains its full growth ; leaves it 
cannot be said to have, consequently neither affords 
shade nor shelter. In spring it becomes green long be- 
fore the native trees ; and its green is so peculiar and 
vivid that, finding nothing to harmonise with it, wherever 
it comes forth, a disagreeable speck is produced. In 
summer, when all other trees are in their pride, it is of 
a dingy lifeless hue ; in autumn of a spiritless imvaried 
yellow, and in winter it is still more lamentably distin- 



COUNTRY OF THE LAKES. 301 

guished from every other deciduous tree of the forest, 
for they seem only to sleep, but the larch appears abso- 
lutely dead. If an attempt be made to mingle thickets, 
or a certain proportion of other forest-trees, with the 
larch, its horizontal branches intolerantly cut them down 
as with a scythe, or force them to spindle up to keep 
pace with it. The spike, in which it terminates, ren- 
ders it impossible, when it is planted in numbers, 
that the several trees should ever blend together so 
as to form a mass or masses of wood. Add thousands 
to tens of thousands, and the appearance is still the 
same — a collection of separate individual trees, ob- 
stinately presenting themselves as such ; and which, 
from whatever point they are looked at, if but seen, may 
be counted upon the fingers. Sunshine, or shadow, has 
little power to adorn the surface of such a wood; and 
the trees not carrying up their heads, the wind raises 
among them no majestic undulations. It is indeed 
true, that, in countries where the larch is a native, and 
where without interruption it may sweep from valley to 
valley and from hill to hill, a sublime image may be 



302 DESCRIPTION OF THE 

produced by such a forest, in the same manner as by 
one composed of any other single tree, to the spreading 
of which no Hmits can be assigned. For sublimity will 
never be wanting, where the sense of innumerable mul- 
titude is lost in, and alternates with, that of intense 
unity ; and to the ready perception of this effect, si- 
milarity and almost identity of individual form and 
monotony of colour contribute. But this feeling is 
confined to the native immeasurable forest; no artifi- 
cial plantation can give it. 

The foregoing observations will, I hope, (as nothing 
has been condemned or recommended without a sub- 
stantial reason) have some influence upon those who 
plant for ornam^ent merely. To those who plant for 
profit, I have already spoken. Let me then entreat 
that the native deciduous trees may be left in com- 
plete possession of the lower ground ; and that plant- 
ations of larch, if introduced at all, may be confined 
to the highest and most barren tracts. Interposition 
of rocks would there break the dreary uniformity of 
which we have been complaining; and the winds would 



COUNTRY OF THE LAKES. 303 

take hold of the trees, and imprint upon their shapes a 
wildness congenial to their situation. 

Having determined what kinds of trees must be wholly 
rejected, or at least very sparingly used, by those who 
are unwilling to disfigure the country ; and having shown 
what kinds ought to be chosen; I should have given, 
if I had not already overstepped my limits, a few prac- 
tical rules for the manner in which trees ought to be 
disposed in planting. But to this subject I should at- 
tach little importance, if I could succeed in banishing 
such trees as introduce deformity, and could prevail 
upon the proprietor to confine himself either to those 
found in the native woods, -or to such as accord with 
them. This is indeed the main point; for, much as 
these scenes have been injured by what has been taken 
from them — buildings, trees, and woods, either through 
negligence, necessity, avarice, or caprice — it is not 
these removals, but the harsh additions that have been 
made, which are the worst grievance — a standing and 
unavoidable annoyance. Often have I felt this distinc- 
tion with mingled satisfaction and regret ; for, if no po- 



S04 DESCRIPTION OF THE 

sitive deformity or discordance be substituted or super- 
induced, such is the benignity of nature that, take 
away from her beauty after beauty, and ornament after 
ornament, her appearance cannot be marred ; — the 
scars, if any be left, will gradually disappear before a 
healing spirit ; and what remains will still be soothing 
and pleasing. — 

" Many hearts deplored 
The fate of those old trees ; and oft with pain 
The traveller at this day will stop and gaze 
On wrongs which nature scarcely seems to heed : 
For sheltered places, bosoms, nooks, and bays, 
And the pure mountains, and the gentle Tweed, 
And the green silent pastures yet remain." 

There are few ancient woods left in this part of Eng- 
land upon which such indiscriminate ravage as is here 
" deplored" could now be committed. But, out of the 
numerous copses, fine woods might in time be raised, 
probably without any sacrifice of profit, by leaving, at 



COUNTRY OF THE LAKES. 305 

the periodical fellings, a due proportion of the healthiest 
trees to grow up into timber. — This plan has fortu- 
nately, in many instances, been adopted; and they, 
who have set the example, are entitled to the thanks 
of all persons of taste. As to the management of 
planting with reasonable attention to ornament, let the 
images of nature be your guide, and the whole secret 
lurks in a few words ; thickets or underwoods - — single 
trees — trees clustered or in groups — groves — un- 
broken woods, but with varied masses of foliage — 
glades — invisible or winding boundaries — in rocky 
districts, a seemly proportion of rock left wholly bare, 
and other parts half hidden -— disagreeable objects con- 
cealed, and formal lines broken — trees climbing up to 
the horizon, and in some places ascending from its sharp 
edge in which they are rooted, with the whole body of 
the tree appearing to stand in the clear sky — in other 
parts woods surmounted by rocks utterly bare and na- 
ked, which add to the sense of height as if vegetation 
could not thither be carried, and impress a feeling of 
duration, power of resistance, and security from change ! 

X 



306 DESCRIPTION OF THE 

I have been induced to speak thus at length with a 
wish to preserve the native beauty of this delightful dis- 
trict, because still farther changes in its appearance must 
inevitably follow, from the change of inhabitants and 
owners which is rapidly taking place. — About the same 
time that strangers began to be attracted to the country, 
and to feel a wish to settle in it, the difficulty, that 
would have stood in the way of their procuring situ- 
ations, was lessened by an unfortunate alteration in the 
circumstances of the native peasantry, proceeding from 
a cause which then began to operate, and is now felt in 
every house. The family of each man, whether estates- 
man or farmer, formerly had a twofold support; first 
the produce of his lands and flocks ; and secondly, the 
profit drawn from the employment of the women and 
children, as manufacturers ; spinning their own wool in 
their own houses, (work chiefly done in the winter sea- 
son,) and carrying it to market for sale. Hence, how- 
ever numerous the children, the income of the family 
kept pace with its increase. But, by the invention and 
universal application of machinery, this second re- 



COUNTRY OF THE LAKES. 307 

source has been wholly cut off; the gains being so far 
reduced, as not to be sought after but by a few aged 
persons disabled from other employment. Doubtless, 
the invention of machinery has not been to these people 
a pure loss ; for the profits arising from home-manufac- 
tures operated as a strong temptation to choose that 
mode of labour in neglect of husbandry. They also 
participate in the general benefit which the island has 
derived from the increased value of the produce of land, 
brought about by the establishment of manufactories, 
and in the consequent quickening of agricultural indus- 
try. But this is far from making them amends; and 
now that home-manufactures are nearly done awav, 
though the women and children might at many seasons 
of the year employ themselves with advantage in the 
fields beyond what they are accustomed to do, yet still 
all possible exertion in this way cannot be rationally ex- 
pected from persons whose agricultural knowledge is so 
confined, and above all where there must necessarily be 
so small a capital. The consequence, then, is — that, 
farmers being no longer able to maintain themselves 

X 2 



308 DESCRIPTION OF THE 

upon small farms, several are united in one, and the 
buildings go to decay, or are destroyed ; and that the 
lands of the estatesmen being mortgaged and the owners 
constrained to part with them, they fall into the hands 
of wealthy purchasers, who in like manner unite and con- 
solidate ; and, if they wish to become residents, erect 
new mansions out of the ruins of the ancient cottages, 
whose little enclosures, with all the wild graces that grew 
out of them, disappear. The feudal tenure under which 
the estates are held has indeed done something towards 
checking this influx of new settlers ; but so strong is 
the inclination that these galling restraints are endured ; 
and it is probable that in a few years the country on the 
margin of the Lakes will fall almost entirely into the 
possession of Gentry, either strangers or natives. It is 
then much to be wished, that a better taste should 
prevail among these new proprietors; and, as they 
cannot be expected to leave things to themselves, that 
skill and knowledge should prevent unnecessary devi- 
ations from that path of simplicity and beauty along 
which, without design and unconsciously, their humble 



COUNTRY OF THE LAKES. 309 

predecessors have moved. In this wish the author 
will be joined by persons of pure taste throughout 
the whole Island, who, by their visits (often repeated) to 
the Lakes in the North of England, testify that they 
deem the district a sort of national property, in which 
every man has a right and interest who has an eye to 
perceive and u heart to enjoy. 



^ 3 



310 DESCRIPTION OF THE 



A FEW words may not improperly be annexed, with 
an especial view to promote the enjoyment of the Tourist. 
And first, in respect to the Time when this Country can 
be seen to most advantage. Mr. West, in his well- 
known Guide to the Lakes, recommends the interval 
from the beginning of June to the end of August ; and, 
the two latter months being a season of vacation and 
leisure, it is almost exclusively in these that strangers 
visit the Country. But that season is by no means the 
best; there is a want of variety in the colouring of the 
mountains and woods; which, unless where they are 
diversified by rocks, are of a monotonous green ; and, 
as a large portion of the Valleys is allotted to hay-grass, 
a want of variety is found there also. The meadows, 
however, are sufficiently enlivened after hay-making 
begins, which is much later than in the southern part 



COUNTRY OF THE LAKES. 31 1 

of the Island. A stronger objection is^rainy weather, 
setting in often at this period with a vigour, and con- 
tinning with a perseverance, that may remind the dis- 
appointed and dejected traveller of those deluges of rain, 
which fall among the Abyssinian Mountains for the 
annual supply of the Nile. Tlie months of September 
and October (particularly October) are generally at- 
tended with much finer weather ; and the scenery is then, 
beyond comparison, more diversified, more splendid, 
and beautiful ; but, on the other hand, short days pre- 
vent long excursions, and sharp and chill gales are un- 
favourable to parties of pleasure out of doors. Never- 
theless, to the sincere admirer of Nature, who is in good 
health and spirits, and at liberty to make a choice, the 
six weeks following the 1st of September may be re- 
commended in preference to July and August. For 
there is no inconvenience arising from the season which, 
to such a person, would not be amply recompensed by 
the Autumnal appearance of any of the more retired 
Valleys, into which discordant plantation, and unsuitable 
buildings have not yet found entrance. -— In such spots, 

X 4< 



312. DESCRIPTION OF THE 

at this season, there is an admirable compass and pro- 
portion of natural harmony in form and colour, through 
the whole scale of objects ; — in the tender green of the 
after-grass upon the meadows interspersed with islands of 
grey or mossy rock crowned by shrubs and trees ; in the 
irregular inclosures of standing corn or stubble-fields in 
like manner broken ; in the mountain sides glowing with 
fern of divers colours ; in the calm blue Lakes and 
River-pools ; and in the foliage of the trees, through all 
the tints of Autumn, from the pale and brilliant yellow 
of the birch and ash, to the deep greens of the unfaded 
oak and alder, and of the ivy upon the rocks, upon the 
trees, and the cottages. Yet, as most travellers are 
either stinted or stint themselves for time, I would re- 
commend the space between the middle or last week in 
May and the middle or last week of June, as affording 
the best combination of long days, fine weather, and 
variety of impressions. Few of the native trees are 
then in full leaf; but, for whatever may be wanting in 
depth of shade, far more than an equivalent will be found 
in the diversity of foliage, in the blossoms of the fi'uit- 



tv 



COUNTRY OF THE LAKES. 313 

and-berry-bearing trees which abound in the woods, 
and in the golden flowers of the broom and other 
shrubs, with which many of the copses are interveined. 
In those woods, also, and on those mountain-sides 
which have a northern aspect, and in the deep dells, 
many of the spring-flowers still linger ; while the open 
and sunny places are stocked with the flowers of ap- 
proaching summer. And, besides, is not an exquisite 
pleasure still untasted by him who has not heard the 
choir of I^innets and Thrushes chaunting their love- 
songs in the copses, woods, and hedge-rows, of a moun- 
tainous country; safe from the birds of prey, which 
build in the inaccessible crags, and are at all hours seen 
or heard wheeling about in the air ? The number of 
those formidable creatures is probably the cause why, 
in the narrow valleys, there are no Sky-larks ; as the 
Destroyer would be enabled to dart upon them from the 
near and surrounding crags, before they could descend 
to their ground-nests for protection. It is not often 
that Nightingales resort to these Vales ; but almost all 
the other tribes of our English warblers are numerous ; 



814? DESCRIPTION OF THE 

and their notes, when listened to by the side of broad 
still waters, or when heard in unison with the murmur- 
ing of mountain-brooks, have the compass of their power 
enlarged accordingly. There is also an imaginative 
influence in the voice of the Cuckoo, when that voice has 
taken possession of a deep mountain valley, very differ- 
ent from any thing which can be excited by the same 
sound in a flat country. Nor must a circumstance be 
omitted which here renders the close of Spring especially 
interesting; I mean the practice of bringing down the 
ewes from the mountains to yean in the valleys and 
enclosed grounds. The herbage being thus cropped as 
it springs, that flrst tender emerald green of the season, 
which would otherwise have lasted little more than a 
fortnight, is prolonged in the pastures and meadows for 
many weeks ; while they are farther enlivened by the 
multitude of lambs bleating and skipping about. These 
sportive creatures, as they gather strength, are turned 
out upon the open mountains, and with their slender 
limbs, their snow-white colour, and their wild and light 
motions, beautifully accord or contrast with the rocks 



COUNTRY OF THE LAKES. 315 

and lawns, upon which they must now begin to seek 
their food. And last, but not least, at this time the 
traveller will be sure of room and comfortable accom- 
modation, even in the smaller inns. I am aware that 
few of tliose, who may be inclined to profit by this re- 
commendation will be able to do so, as the time and 
manner of an excursion of this kind is mostly regulated 
by circumstances which prevent an entire freedom of 
choice. It will therefore be more pleasant to me to 
observe, that, though the months of July and August are 
liable to many objections, yet it not unfrequently happens 
that the weather, at this time, is not more wet and 
stormy than they, who are really capable of enjoying the 
sublime forms of Nature in their utmost sublimity, 
would desire. For no Traveller, provided he be in good 
health and with any command of time, would have a 
just privilege to visit such scenes, if he could grudge the 
price of a little confinement among them or interruption 
in his journey for the sight or sound of a storm coming- 
on or clearing-away. Insensible must he be who would 
not congratulate himself upon the bold bursts of sunshine, 



316 DESCRIPTION OF THE 

the descending vapours, wandering lights and shadows, 
and the invigorated torrents and water-falls, with which 
broken weather, in a mountainous region, is accompanied. 
At such a time there is no cause to complain, either of 
the monotony of midsummer colouring or the glaring 
atmosphere of long, cloudless, and hot days. 

Thus far respecting the most eligible season for visit- 
ing this country. As to the order in which objects are 
best seen -— a Lake being composed of water flowing 
from higher grounds, and expanding itself till its re- 
ceptacle is filled to the brim, — it follows from the nature 
of things, that it will appear to most advantage when 
approached from its outlet, especially if the Lake be in 
a mountainous country ; for, by this way of approach, 
the traveller faces the grander features of the scene, and 
is gradually conducted into its most sublime recesses. 
Now, every one knows, that from amenity and beauty 
the transition to sublimity is easy and favourable ; but 
the reverse is not so ; for, after the faculties have been 
raised by communion with the sublime, they are indis- 
posed to humbler excitement. , 



COUNTRY OF THE LAKES. 317 

It is not likely that a mountain will be ascended with- 
out disappointment if a wide range of prospect be the 
object, unless either the summit be reached before sun-rise, 
or the visitant remains there until the time of sun-set, and 
afterwards. The precipitous sides of the mountain, and 
the neighbouring summits, may be seen with effect under 
any atmosphere which allows them to be seen at all ; but 
he is the most fortunate adventurer who chances to be 
involved in vapours which open and let in an extent 
of country partially, or, dispersing suddenly, reveal the 
whole region from centre to circumference. 

After all, it is upon the mind which a Traveller 
brings along with him that his acquisitions, whether of 
pleasure or profit, must principally depend. — May I be 
allowed a concluding word upon this subject ? 

Nothing is more injurious to genuine feeling than the 
practice of hastily and ungraciously depreciating the 
face of one country by comparing it with that of another. 
True it is. Qui bene distinguit bene docet ; yet fasti- 
diousness is a wretched travelling companion ; and the 
best guide to which in matters of taste we can entrust 



318 DESCRIPTION OF THE 

ourselves, is a disposition to be pleased. For example, 
if a Traveller be among the Alps, let him surrender up 
his mind to the fury of the gigantic torrents, and take 
delight in the contemplation of their almost irresistible 
violence, without complaining of the monotony of their 
foaming course, or being disgusted with the muddiness 
of the water — apparent wherever it is unagitated. In 
Cumberland and Westmorland let not the comparative 
w^eakness of the streams prevent him from sympathising 
with such impetuosity as they possess ; and, making the 
most of present objects, let him, as he justly may do, 
observe with admiration the unrivalled brilliancy of the 
water, and that variety of motion, mood, and character, 
that arises out of the want of those resources by which 
the power of the streams in the Alps is supported. — 
Again, with respect to the mountains ; though these are 
comparatively of diminutive size, though there is little 
of perpetual snow, and no voice of summer-avalanches 
is heard among them; and though traces left by the 
ravage of the elements are here comparatively rare and 
unimpressive, yet out of this very deficiency proceeds a 



COUNTRY OF THE LAKES. 319 

sense of stability and permanence that is, to many minds, 
more grateful — 

" While the coarse rushes to tlie sweeping breeze 
Sigh forth their ancient melodies." 

See the Ode, Pass cf Kirkstone, 

Among the Alps are few places that do not preclude 
this feeling of tranquil sublimity. Havoc, and ruin, 
and desolation, and encroachment, are every where more 
or less obtruded ; and it is difficult, notwithstanding the 
naked loftiness of the Pikes^ and the snow-capped sum- 
mits of the Mounts, to escape from the depressing sens- 
ation that the whole are in a rapid process of disso- 
lution, and, were it not that the destructive agency must 
abate as the heights diminish, would, in time to come, be 
levelled with the plains. Nevertheless I would relish to 
the utmost the demonstrations of every species of power 
at work to effect such chancres. 

- From these general views let us descend a moment to 
detail. A stranger to mountain-scenery naturally on 
his first arrival looks out for sublimity in every object 



320 DESCRIPTION OF THE 

that admits of it; and is almost always disappointed. For 
this disappointment there exists, I believe, no general 
preventive ; nor is it desirable that there should. But, 
with regard to one class of objects, there is a point in 
which injurious expectations may be easily corrected. It 
is generally supposed that waterfalls are scarcely worth 
being looked at except after much rain, and that, 
the more swoln the stream, the more fortunate the 
< spectator ; but this is true only of large cataracts with 
sublime accompaniments ; and not even of these without 
some drawbacks. The principal charm of the smaller 
waterfalls or cascades, consists in certain proportions of 
form and affinities of colour, among the component 
parts of the scene, and in the contrast maintained be- 
tween the falling water and that which is apparently at 
rest ; or rather settling gradually into quiet, in the pool 
below. Peculiarly, also, is the beauty of such a scene, 
where there is naturally so niuch agitation, heightened, 
here by the glimmering, knd, towards the verge of the 
pool, by the steady, reflection of the surrounding images. 
Now, all those delicate distinctions are destroyed by 



COUNTRY OF THE LAKES. 321 

heavy floods, and the whole stream rushes along in 
foam and tumultuous confusion. I will conclude with 
observing, that a happy proportion of component parts 
is generally noticeable among the landscapes of the 
North of England ; and, in this characteristic essential to 
a perfect picture, they surpass the scenes of Scotland, 
and, in a still greater degree, those of Switzerland. 



THE END. 



ERRATA. 

In Advertisement to the River Duddon, line 1. for Tell read Fell 

1 7th Sonnet, dele the title 

Page 61. line 3. from bott. dele and 

62. line 3. from bott. for Birkett's read BurUtt^s 
79. line 15. dele comma after again 
111. line 3. from bott. for regions read region 
127. line 1. dele comma suiter gain 

158. line 6. after crags^ substitute a comma for the semicolon 
179. end of first stanza, for the song I learn, read song do I le ar 
184. second stanza, read the first two lines thus : 
This Abbot, for he was a holy man, 
As all monks are, or surely ought to be, 
200. line 4. after light, substitute a comma for the semicolon 
208. line 2, for and read with 



Printed by A. and R. Spottiswoode, 
Printers-Street, London.